Salvation Army sues Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A dispute between two neighboring non-profit organizations in Indianapolis is moving from a conference room to a courtroom.

The Salvation Army filed a civil suit against The Children's Museum of Indianapolis in Marion County Thursday. It said construction at the neighboring museum is preventing its headquarters from using an access point on the property the Salvation Army has legal rights to use.

Currently, the museum is building the Riley Children's Health Sports Legends Experience. It's a 7 1/2 acre addition expected to be finished next year.

"It's a real issue for us and it's something that needs to be resolved," Major Bob Webster, the divisional commander of the Salvation Army in Indiana, said.

The Salvation Army said the construction is depriving it of easements that open up access to Illinois St. Its other entrance is off of North Meridian St.

"It's not necessarily an issue of how inconvenient it is versus, you know, it's our right," Webster said.

The lawsuit states the museum didn't notify the Salvation Army of its plan before construction began and that during discussions between the two there was no "meaningful progress" toward a resolution.

"They gave us some options of meandering through the property, driving through areas where there's trees and bushes and where there's children walking," Webster said.

"Just out of the blue we got a notice this morning that they filed the lawsuit," Brian Statz, the vice president of operations at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, said.

The museum said the lawsuit came as a surprise.

"And like I said before we've been trying to go through their motions to figure out what they want to know," Statz said.

Statz said the museum has discussed the issue with the Salvation Army for several months.

"We don't think we're doing anything wrong but it appears they disagree 'cuz they sued us," he said.

While the organization may sit on opposite sides of the fence on the issue, though, they both said they're hoping to reach a resolution.

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