Group protests to save Crown Hill Forest

A local group is continuing their fight to save 14 acres of woods at Crown Hill Cemetery. (WISH photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A local group is continuing their fight to save 14 acres of woods at Crown Hill Cemetery. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs bought the land and plans to build a memorial there.

On Thursday a group of about two dozen gathered outside of Congressman Andre Carson’s office urging him to get involved in their efforts to save the forest before construction on the new memorial begins.

“We’re out here trying to get people’s attention about what we are about to lose,” said Paul Bryan, a veteran.

Thursday several community members, families and veteran gathered. They want the V.A. to look at other locations for the memorial site.

“It is a great project, it is just in the wrong place,” said Bryan.

“As a veteran I feel the preservation of our forest is something I served to protect,” said Mary Bookwalter.

The Indiana Forest Alliance filed a lawsuit against the V.A. in December saying the V.A. didn’t follow the proper process when it came to finding and choosing a location for the cemetery. A judge denied their request to halt the project. They are appealing that decision.

“As a veteran I’d be honored to be buried in such a place, but not in our Crown Hill Woods. I’d like to see it preserved for a place of solace,” said Bookwalter.

The group is hoping it’s not too late for the V.A. to consider other locations so they leave the forest standing while still having a different location to honor veterans.

“We worked very hard. We have a land trust that will is willing to donate the land that they choose. They will buy it and we could have both,” said Bryan.

The V.A. has declined to comment on stories regarding this memorial site. A spokesperson for Congressman Andre Carson’s office said they have made inquiries to the V.A., but due to ethics committee rules, they are not allowed to intervene in any pending litigation.

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