Panel approves rezoning request to allow Cumberland church demolition

An Indianapolis zoning board has approved a rezoning request to allow the demolition of a century-old church to make way for a convenience store.

The building in question is St. John United Church of Christ on the city's far east side. Church officials who've seen their congregation dwindle have agreed to sell the property to Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle, which wants to demolish it and build a convenience store and gas station on the site.

Local officials have fought that proposal.

Cumberland Town Manager Andrew Klinger says the town wanted the brick church reused for a mixed-use development that preserves the historic building as a landmark. 

Residents who are fighting to preserve the church posted on their Facebook page, "The Town of Cumberland is very disappointed. The MDC voted 4-2 in favor of the rezoning request, meaning the church is one step closer to being razed. However, it's not over 'til it's over! The Indianapolis City-County Council must approve the decision at an upcoming meeting. Stay tuned for details."

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission also approved a zoning request from Costco, clearing the way for the new store on the south side.