Church fights back after years of illegal dumping

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A church on the northeast side is taking back its neighborhood after years of illegal dumping.

Members from the Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church said they could not take it anymore.

They said people were tossing everything out next to their place of worship. The church had enough and found a solution.

Signs prohibiting illegal dumping can be seen everywhere near Ribble Road and 30th Street.

Most of the trash is now gone and out of sight from nearby residents and church goers.

“This used to be trash in the middle of the street, trees in the middle of the street,” said Charles Ingram, church member. “Like I said earlier, a tractor in the middle of the street here, been here for many years.”

It has been a long battle for the Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church.

Charles Ingram is longtime member of the congregation. He said two years ago, they decided to take ownership of the property right next door.

“We took ownership, because on Sunday, who wants to come to a church with all of this illegal dumping going on?” said Ingram. “One of the key things was we fought for our community.”

The church went to work. Ingram said they got rid of the trash, put up a new fence, and installed security cameras. The work didn’t end there. They took down license plate numbers of violators.

“Turned it over to the code enforcement and turned it into our local IMPD officers,” said Ingram.

The work has since paid off for the church.

Some people living nearby in the Brightwood neighborhood are hoping for the same outcome.

Hundreds of volunteers will meet bright and early Saturday morning for a massive clean up day.

“The goal is to clean the alleys up where the illegal dumping has been,” said Elaine Bolden, president of Brightwood Concerned Citizens.

Bolden has called Brightwood home for 60 years.

While she knows change won’t happen overnight, she’s hoping the event will get the message across.

“This is not a dumping ground. You have people cleaning up and they get frustrated because they have to go back and clean up their messes.”

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful is organizing the clean up event with help from local groups.

Volunteers are planning to create a community garden. They’re also placing 20 trash cans throughout the neighborhoods.

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