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Preservationists hope to memorialize remains at Eleven Park site

Eunice Trotter- Black Heritage Preservation Program Director

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — As the development of Eleven Park, Indy Eleven’s new proposed stadium continues, historians are hoping that developers will honor the former Black cemetery located on its grounds.

The construction of the stadium is set on Greenlawn Cemetery, the city’s earliest burial ground.

The former cemetery has significant historical value. According to a report from Keystone Group, the development company behind Eleven Park, “there are 87 known graves, more than 100 headstones, Native American artifacts and iron coffins” that have been found.

In May, the city offered to buy the Eleven Park site from Ersal Ozdemir, head of Keystone Group and owner of the Indy Eleven.

Eunice Trotter, director of the Black Heritage Preservation Program of Indiana Landmarks, joined Daybreak again to discuss more.

“I am absolutely ecstatic that more attention is being paid to what’s there and what’s been there for 200 years,” Trotter said. “And that’s our history and our past, that’s our pioneers, that’s our very foundation. So yes, I am happy.”

Trotter says the cemetery has an African American section and is considered the only African American burial site in Indianapolis. Some of the city’s Black pioneers are buried there.

By offering to purchase the site, preservationists hope the city will memorialize and preserve what is remaining.

“If the city continues to keep its word that it would memorialize that site, then we’re happy and I think it’s going to benefit all of us as Hoosiers, as historians, you know, as people who want to preserve our history,” Trotter said.