September 14, 2016

Last Ditch Effort To Save Old Growth Trees

Burr Oak Tree - Leigh DeNoon

Burr Oak Tree

Leigh DeNoon

INDIANAPOLIS -- Conservation groups are making a last ditch effort to save some old growth trees in Crown Hill Cemetery that are part of a Veterans Administration plan to expand where Hoosier veterans are laid to rest.

After purchasing the 15 acres at Crown Hill last year, the VA held a public comment period about the development, but it went unnoticed. Now environmental groups, including the Indiana Forest Alliance, are staging a last ditch effort to save the old growth trees.

“When they (VA) did their environmental assessment, and they admitted that there were trees in here, many of them, that looked like they could be 300 or more years old – and one they thought was 500 years old...They say it’s an 'undisturbed old growth forest' and then turn around and reach the conclusion that, ‘but it would be insignificant to remove it all,’” Jeff Stant, executive director of the forest alliance, said.

A VA spokeswoman says the design phase for the cemetery is not fully complete. She says the VA is willing to meet with those wanting to minimize the loss of old growth trees.

There’s a community meeting Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the MLK Community Center at 40 West 40th St.

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