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Southern Indiana Nudist Colony Threatened by I-69 Construction

Fern Hills Club

Residents of a Southern Indiana nudist colony fear that their serene, buck-naked lives may soon be in upheaval because of I-69 construction through southwestern Monroe County.

The Fern Hills club, which is a 75-acre private family nudist colony established near Kirksville in 1947, is concerned that if I-69 construction efforts elevate the highway, the people that drive by might just get an eyeful of nudists, according to the Fern Hills attorney Jawn Bauer.

The resort that is owned by Carol Ripple and her two sisters has nearly 200 members, and upon realizing that I-69 would become a close neighbor, they quickly became concerned over the possibility that those members would soon lose their privacy.

However, Indiana Department of Transportation representative Cher Elliot says that the state has been working closely with the nudist colony to help shuffle the effects of the highway.

“We have been in contact with them quite a bit,” she said. “We want to be good neighbors, and since they own property up to the right of way, we don’t want them to have concerns or anxieties about the project.”

Still, colony members fear that interstate noise and people trying to get a glimpse of some skin will become a problem.

While Fern Hills did petition INDOT to build a 20-foot-high concrete sound barrier along the edge of the property, Elliot says that federal standards have to be met for such a wall to be constructed, and the colony’s property did not meet the criteria.

Since the highway will be elevated and only about a quarter of a mile away from the colony, Elliot said that INDOT is working to determine whether “visual screening” is necessary, which would involve planting trees and other vegetation in order to obstruct public view.

Elliot added that approval for those screening efforts is not likely.

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