No tree left behind 

Drive between the 23rd and 24th blocks of College and Broadway Avenues and you will find a virtual tree graveyard. If you are a lover of trees, as I am, you will be incensed. Over a hundred mature trees that provided shelter to numerous native birds, including protected birds of prey, have been chopped down. Despite the benefits they provided to our environment, they were destroyed to make room for Phase IV of Fall Creek Place.

Back in the fall of 2006, concerned neighbors and environmentalists came together to petition the Mayor’s Office to “save the trees” in their community. They asked the mayor to save them for the students of the Oaks Academy who enjoyed their shade and to save them for the community who valued them for their aesthetic presence. Apparently, the mayor was not moved by the concern of around 100 neighbors and other citizens.

Surely, not every single tree had to be removed. Indeed, the new residents of Fall Creek Place would have revered the value added to their properties by the numerous mature trees in their neighborhood. David Forsell, president of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, stated in a May 2006 media release that “remarkable national research clearly demonstrates that trees improve air and water quality; increase neighborhood property values; encourage economic and retail vitality; and likely create neighborhood environments that reduce domestic violence, property crime and violent crime.” In fact “large, mature street trees [like the ones just put to death by FCP] are found to be the most important indicator of attractiveness in a community,” says a study found in Georgia Urban Forestry Publication, Shade-Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities, Healthy People, 2004.

When will Indianapolis city officials and others in power actually pay heed to the cry to protect our environment in every corridor of the city, not just in the suburbs?

Shelley Landis


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