Never mind those graves… Play Ball!

From the Jeffersonville (Indiana) News and Tribune:

Despite graves, Jeffersonville will use Colston as ball field

Even after confirming the existence of graves there last fall, the city of Jeffersonville will keep Colston Park as a softball field — at least in 2012.

Corporation Counsel Tom Lowe told the Jeffersonville Parks Authority that an archaeological survey is wrapping up at the site but the city should be cleared to repair the park by March 1 and again use it as a ballfield.

The parks authority is made up of members of the Jeffersonville City Council. They had differing opinions of whether or not ball should be played there.

“Now that we know it’s a burial site, I have an issue with just going ahead and playing on top of it,” said Councilman Nathan Samuel. “We typically don’t just run on graves. Now that we know, that’s a concern.”

Councilman Ed Zastawny said he’s OK with ball being played there. Councilman Dennis Julius commented that the city would probably take some flack for allowing it. Mayor Mike Moore said he wasn’t surprised by it when the survey found the burial sites.

And why wasn’t he surprised?

Indeed, Lowe pointed out, there is a marker explaining the burials.

The marker reads: “On this site, 1861-1865, are buried several hundred Union and Confederate soldiers, killed in the Western campaign. Lack of interest from distant families allowed deterioration of the wood grave markers and heavy overgrowth. In 1927, the Jeffersonville Council determined, ‘Better the sound of children’s footsteps at play than the silent stride of the nearly forgotten great spirit army here at rest.’ The only intact stone marker was moved to Walnut Ridge Cemetery. No bodies were exhumed.”

Perhaps the historical society should have made the marker in flashing neon.  Sounds like a bad decision was made in 1927, and things just keep getting worse.  Currently the city plans to move activities from those fields to a new complex, then possibly turn the site over for development:

Jeffersonville is planning to move its softball leagues to the a complex now under construction at Vissing Park. That’s expected to be complete in time for the 2013 season.

Post 2012 is still a question mark for Colston Park. Moore believes the city should sell the land to a developer, saying the completion of the Big Four bridge ramp will spark commercial interest. Under state law, the grave sites would have to be moved before anything could be built on the land.  (Read the full story here.)

Ummm…. yes that should be an attractive proposition.

I shouldn’t say too much, here in Virginia we have similar problems.

Published by Craig Swain

"Historical marker hunter" and Civil War enthusiast.

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