Central State trees: an arborphile's proposal

A hall with two different courtyards on each side, inside of a dorm of Central Indiana State Hospital.

On Monday, the NUVO news desk received the following email:

Development is moving right along at the Central Greens Properties, formerly the Central State Hospital for the Insane of Indiana, on the near westside of Indianapolis. These 160 acres are quite the "historically significant jewel" of our community at large.

Many of the buildings are being preserved and reutilized for future posterity; but are the property's historically significant trees getting the same consideration??

I would like to petition that any more trees that are cut and removed throughout this development, should be carefully examined for quality and historical significance, and if satisfactory, they be milled into lumber/materials that can be used in the remodeling/renovating of the buildings that have been selected for re-use/re-habilitation.

Further, I petition that one or two carefully selected trees be slated to be kept for the purpose of being carved by a local wood-carving artist, such as a totem carver, into some appropriate form of statuary to be displayed on Central Greens Properties.

As a born n bred Hoosier and near westside resident of Indy for the past many years, I have grown to love this special place of Indiana history. Though I'm sure much thought has gone into the re-development of Central State grounds, I am concerned about the potentially finer details that may have been overlooked in the zeal to "get-er-done!!"

Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.


Lois Sprague

In response, we followed up with a phone call and a few questions via email, which she answered as follows:

1. I've lived near Central State grounds since 1997 and fell in love w/ the property as my own personal park and place to take my doggies for a walk.

Currently, I live in the Central Green Apts and can see the development going on right out my windows. Currently they're working on road building and infrastructure and I got concerned when I started seeing trees coming down and being chipped into nothingness.

I've heard that many of these old growth trees had actually been planted by Central State Hospital staff specifically for their medicinal purposes. I hated seeing historically significant trees being destroyed; and thought they should be utilized in some way in the restoration of those selected buildings.

2. So far, I've made a petition on MoveOn.org and put it on my Facebook page. MoveOn is supposed to send my petition to Gov. Pence, the State House, the State House of Reps., André Carson, and Mike Higbee, the head developer for Central Greens - none of which have responded.

Sorry, have no pix; everyone I've told about my idea thinks its a good one, but I haven't tried to canvas the area for signatures. So far, I only have 2 signers - myself and one other person from the near westside community.

I do know a lot of thought has been put into the re-development of Central State Grounds, but I'm sure there a many small details, such as preserving these relic trees by using the wood in renovation work out there, that could not have been visualized at the time of initial planning.

In uploading this material, NUVO looked for a link to anything online or from MoveOn.org with no success. We will stay posted for developments.