Recently, concerns were raised to the City of New Albany that the proposed dog park at Cannon Acres would disturb Native American cultural and historical sites. The City felt the need to clarify the steps taken during the planning of the dog park. Under no circumstances would the City knowingly disturb or disrespect any cultural or historical site.
During the planning stages of the dog park at Cannon Acres, the City hired an architect firm, Michell Timperman Ritz (MTR) Architects of New Albany, to research the construction site and provide plans for construction that would respect the archaeological sites in the area. Larry Timperman of MTR is listed on the Qualified Professional Roster by the State of Indiana Historic Preservation Office for historic architecture and archeology.
During the early research and investigation of the area, the City was made aware of possible historical and cultural sites near the construction zone. In 2005, three possible historic sites were located (12FL90, 12FL91, 12FL92). After further review, it appears that only two of the three sites have historical significance. In 2014, The City corresponded with the State of Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources Archaeologist, Cathy Draeger-Williams. Ms. Draeger-Williams indicated the following:
“Sites 12Fl90 and 12FL91 should be avoided by any ground disturbing activities… Site 12Fl92 was determined not eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and no further archaeological investigations are necessary.”
The National Register of Historic Places reviews nominations submitted by states, tribes, and other federal agencies and then lists eligible properties in the National Register. They offer guidance on evaluating, documenting, and listing different types of historic places.
The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources. (from www.nps.gov/nr)
After research was done and the National Register reviewed, the layout of the dog park project was completed. The park does not disturb the two areas that have been identified by the State of Indiana Department of National Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology (site 12FL91 and site 12FL90, highlighted red in the layouts above). These two areas have been respected and will not be disturbed by this project. To further protect the sites, fences will be installed to prevent workers from disturbing the historic ground while construction occurs in other areas. The city is also in talks with Mr. Nathan Underwood, commissioner of the Indiana Native American Indian Affairs Commission, regarding the preservation of these two historic sites.
“We want to be respectful of historical and cultural sites that exist near the property,” stated Mayor Gahan. “Our goal is to construct a family-friendly park, and do so while being respectful of historical and cultural sites that exist near the property."