Richmond Indiana's Eastern Cross

For more of my commentary on life in Richmond, Indiana check out RichmondMatters.com.
(Please note, because of the time that has passed since I wrote this article, it may no longer reflect my current views or the most accurate and complete information available on this subject.)

Indiana CrossIf you've visited Richmond, Indiana via interstate 70 recently, it's likely you've seen a new addition to our most prominent landmarks: a 110-foot vinyl-sided cross right next to the highway exit on our east side.  The cross was erected at a cost of US$150,000 by New Creations Chapel, Inc., which has a website dedicated to the project's history and progress.  Their hope is that it "will give hope, direction, light from above, and encouragement to all those people traveling Interstate 70 and passing New Creations Chapel."

Richmond already has a number of issues with public perception when it comes to tourism and first impressions.  All discussions of religion and symbology aside, I think this new fixture probably doesn't help with that.  But the main question that came up in the casual discussions I've had with people about it is "how does such a thing go up without the community having any input on it?"  To answer that question I contacted Scott Zimmerman, who works as a City Planner with the City of Richmond.

Here's what he had to say:

Under our Zoning Code, R-1 One-Family Residence District allows as Principal
Permitted Uses Institutional uses including churches. That would include all
church uses unless specifically prohibited or further regulated somewhere in
code. Under our sign code, things like flags and monuments are not
considered signs. If this were part of a church building (steeple) it would
be regulated. This is also why the Ford dealership has a similarly large
flag pole which has no review through our office.

The only permit required was an Improvement Location Permit (ILP) verifying
setbacks and zoning.

So, there you have it.  My understanding is that the zoning code is changing soon in a way that might require a little more oversight from the City before such large items are put up, but I don't know the details of that.

What do you think about a symbol like this as an introduction to Richmond for travelers, visitors and residents?  Is it a good and appropriate use of $150,000?

6 thoughts on “Richmond Indiana's Eastern Cross

  1. Signs and symbols always seem like frivolous uses of money. Fancy signs in front of colleges adn churches and hospitals, logos on shirts and shoes, calling mutts "designer dogs," etc. Given the other things New Creations spends its money on -- "educating" students out of workbooks, taking in kids who can barely read but CAN play basketball, and oh lest we forget...staging horrific halloween hell house events... given all that? The cross seems fairly benign.

    Besides, the McDonald's arch, at least from some vantage points, rises quite a bit higher.

    What I would love to see is one of the Quaker churches erect a giant peace symbol. Or a Unitarian church put up a huge rainbow flag.

  2. I think it's a ridiculous waste of $150,000, especially in a city that's struggling financially like Richmond... I would think a good Christian organization could have put that money to better "more Christian" uses in our community

  3. I was disappointed when I came home to visit my family and see this HUGE waste of money. It reminds me of the TV evangelists and their oppressive views upon the masses. I thought this part of Indiana was the Corn Belt of even the Rust Belt. Has the Bible Belt taken over with their backward, biggoted and oppressive views?

    I do attend church on the west coast but our congregation raises money for Haitian victims and sends Mosquito nets to Africa instead erecting "Golden Calves".

    1. "I do attend church on the west coast but our congregation raises money for Haitian victims and sends Mosquito nets to Africa instead erecting "Golden Calves"."
      Does your church ever think of the need right here in this country. Pay a visit to a Native American reservation or Appalachia to see and maybe do something for your own citizens before shipping it overseas.

  4. Was interested in who sponsored the cross on I 70. I am amazed at the anti-cross comments. Just driving down the road it made me reflect God's goodness and mercy and his sacrifice of his only son to save humanity. We took pictures and made a point to write down the name of this Godly city. Will stop next time. Always believe the comments of a few don't match the beliefs of the majority.
    From Florida

  5. Regarding Public utility: Used New Creations YOUR money, public money or ITS own money?
    If there was neither your money nor public money, is out of sense talk about public utility in monetary way.
    In other side of the cake: What is your concept regarding "good use of the money? When you go to expend a lot of money in a Tavern or in any other place, your mind is focused in what the poor people have to eat at same time?
    Of course we think different about that . I believe the Cross is a very useful, amazing sign with a strong public utility.
    If just one person is moved to Salvation because the cross, 150000 are the best possible inversion. There is not a ward plane, there is not a weapon to kill others, There is not a Presidential candidate promising the heaven and the planet in order to get your vote. There is a CROSS that you don't pay, but the church. For myself, and for millions of Americans, a Cross is a testimony and also is a message. Millions that are traveling across I-70 receive the message through the Cross. Those are single pieces o whole message: " Jesus Saves and there is a hope for you
    . Also, there is a Church you can visit or contact in order to find spiritual help.
    . No matter what problem do you have, Jesus is loving you and there is a church with open doors for you.
    And all the people are receiveing this message for free, jus the church is paying for.

    All are the message a Cross bring to every one.

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