- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 22, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Pittsburgh-based grocer Giant Eagle has dropped its plans to raze a historic Indianapolis church and build a gas station and convenience store on the site.

The company said Tuesday that “after much consideration,” it had decided not to pursue the project on the city’s far east side that would have demolished the century-old St. John’s United Church of Christ.

Giant Eagle spokesman Dan Donovan said in a statement that the company had thoroughly reviewed the proposed development. He said that “for a variety of reasons we did not feel that this proposed location best met the needs of our business.”

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission in May approved rezoning of the church site to allow construction of the proposed convenience store.

But Cumberland town officials pushed to save the brick 1914 church after its dwindling congregation agreed to sell the building to Giant Eagle and eventually build a new church nearby.

Cumberland was once a rest stop along the National Road - now U.S. 40 - but the town has lost many of its century-old homes and businesses in recent decades to development.

The church’s bell tower, stained glass windows and Tudor Gothic Revival-style design have welcomed travelers to the community for more than a century.

Town Manager Andrew Klinger said local officials want to work with church’s leaders to sell the property for reuse in some type of mixed-use development “that’s mutually beneficial for the congregation and the Cumberland community.”

“As we’ve said from the beginning, the Town of Cumberland envisions a greater potential use for the site,” he said.

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