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Issues of resting places, parking spaces cause special session for Helper council

Sun Advocate reporter

Helper's mayor and city council have called a special work session Feb. 24 to look for solutions to two issues residents raised at last Thursday's regular meeting:

* The Avalon apartments, with 34 units, have only three designated parking spaces;

* The city's cemetery ordinance, five years old and two pages long, is causing additional heartaches for some who are already grieving for lost loved ones.

The cemetery issue was highlighted during an emotional presentation by Diane Lodeserto, whose son Preston died after an ATV accident last summer.

She chose the Helper cemetery for interment because "it is the most beautiful cemetery in Carbon County." The compliments ended there.

When the time came to choose a monument for her son's grave, she said she found one that would have been perfect. Only then, however, did she find out that the monument was unacceptably big in that section of the cemetery.

"Nothing was ever told to us about not being able to have the headstone we want," she declared. "Now we have to exhume my son's grave to put him in a spot where we can give him the monument he deserves."

Mayor Dean Armstrong acknowledged that the city's ordinance was probably "pretty short, pretty brief" compared to Price City's 16 pages.

"To me, the cemetery is one of our pre-eminent places," he continued. But while it must be accessible to people, it also must be manageable.

Councilman Gary Harwood agreed with the mayor's statement, and cited an example of the challenges the city faces with maintenance. "Say you have a $10,000 stone there. Who's going to pay if we have to move it?"

Lawn mowers, trimmers and sprinklers all have to have some room to operate, so the city ordinance does regulate certain markers to certain spaces.

While the solution could be something as simple as a color brochure outlining the arrangement and rules, the council agreed that finding the solutions to the issues and making the public aware would take more time.

Also requiring more time and research is the parking situation at the Avalon.

While street parking is available most of the time, when the snow falls and the plows come out, there's no parking allowed on Helper streets.

There is off-street parking room off 100 West, but the city stockpiles mounds of snow there. There could be alternative sites, mentioned Councilman Harwood.

There are also summer days such as the Arts Festival when that off-street parking is first-come, first-served and not reserved.

Whatever answer the city comes up with, it will have to fit in with the overall plan for downtown.

The special work session is set to begin at 6 p.m., with an hour reserved for each issue.

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