Summers slams MDC, out-of-town developers for rush to commercialize DeHaan Estate

IBLC, News & Media

INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Vanessa Summers (D-Indianapolis) today blasted the Metropolitan Development Commission (MDC), the DeHaan Estate and the out-of-town developers trying to jam through a commercial rezoning of the 100-plus acre estate without engaging the Black Community in the area, including local churches and community leaders.

Summers has called on the Indianapolis City Council to postpone its August 8 public hearing on the project or vote it down to allow community leaders to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the developers, including M Development of Aspen, Colorado.

Summers was shocked that her efforts to intercede in the MDC process were rejected by the Chairman of the MDC even though the attorney for the developer supported her efforts to delay the MDC decision. Chairman Dillon ruled Summers’ paperwork was submitted too late, so he rejected it and rammed through a vote by the MDC. A City Council resolution is scheduled for action on August 8.

State Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis), who represents Summers on this matter, said the record clearly shows the paperwork was submitted on time, and that the developers’ attorney was supportive of efforts to delay a final vote by the MDC.

Summers said, “This is the most significant piece of property in the city and rezoning it for commercial use in a mad rush without sitting with elected or community leaders from my community is astonishing. The City Council must delay action on this resolution or reject the application.”

Taylor said, “The MDC made a choice to rush this project through, which raises serious questions about why it was done without consideration of the agreement between the Petitioner and the Community. Our paperwork was on time but regardless, they could have accepted it as a courtesy to Rep. Summers given the developers’ attorney was supportive of her efforts to engage in the process. This decision is disturbing and is contrary to longstanding community input rules with the City Council.”

The leaders of three predominantly Black Churches – the Light of the World, Eastern Star and Witherspoon Presbyterian Church – have requested a meeting with M Development’s Mark Hunt so they can understand directly from him the full scope of his plans for the site. They have asked Hunt to pull the project from the August 8 agenda until they can learn more about this project.

Summers said, “Mark Hunt and M Development needs to request that Councilor Barth pull down this rezoning now and meet with community leaders – Black community leaders – so we can fully understand this project. The developers’ representatives have met with many other people impacted by this project – all from the White community. I am skeptical that is a coincidence.”

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