East Carbon citizens, who for some time have been burying their loved ones at various distant locations, may soon have the option to spend eternity within their own city.
Local officials are negotiating with a private land owner, Don Butler, to purchase seven acres of property directly across from the East Carbon Senior Citizen's Center in order to construct an East Carbon City Cemetery.
"I feel that a local place to bury our deceased citizens is something that every city should try to provide for their residents," said East Carbon Council member Andy Urbanik, who is spearheading the project. "And if we are able to get the property for a fair price and receive some assistance putting it together, this is a win-win for our residents."
With East Carbon's lack of a final resting place for residents and Sunnyside City's cemetery currently full, east county residents who do not own a plot must go to other cities around the county to bury their deceased.
At the city's Dec. 13 council session, Marty Beaumont with JB Engineers, presented information from the company's subsidiary Gateway Mapping, which deals with the plotting and management of cemeteries.
"We deal with the geographical information for cemeteries. More than 50 cemeteries in the state of Utah are using our spatial generation software in order to manage their cemeteries and that's how we got involved in this process," explained Beaumont. "As we started looking at the cemetery and the potential possibilities with Andym of what it could be if this was a proper site, we started looking at how many plots we could fit into this area."
According to Beaumont, the company started by looking at what is being called the Butler property and discerning what type of improvements would be needed to get the area ready for construction. The company then began a preliminary design estimation of roadways, curb and gutter, curb walls and fencing. This initial report was submitted in April of 2009 to let the council see what this type of project might cost.
"The overall development of the property is fairly expensive," said Beaumont. "In 2008-2009 the total cost we came up with was $1.2 million to landscape, fence, build all of the roads, installation of the sprinkling system. There are also some water lines that would be extended down Carson Ave. and Berkley Ave. and extend down Denver Ave. to give the city some looping of the water system. You can see, this is a fairly extensive concept to develop the whole thing at once."
The engineer reported that many cities prefer to tackle large projects such as this by moving forward in phases. By this model, the city would be able to purchase the land, work on some development, sell some plots, get some income and then move forward with the project.
The JB design would provide for 4,000 burial plots within the approximately seven acre parcel of land. This number would be lessened somewhat based on the amount of trees within the cemetery as well as land put aside for monuments.
Additionally, Beaumont reported that the power line which runs through the property does present some issues. Initially, the group planned to have the power pole moved. However, Urbanik stated that the city could indeed save some funds on the project if they were to allow only one street to be built in the cemetery and keep the power pole where it was.
"Having only one street within the property would also discourage motorists from using the cemetery as a byway, something that we consider whenever we engineer a site," explained Beaumont. "Rather than having Berkley and Carson come right through, join them together and have them come right under the power line. This would also maximize the potential developable area in the cemetery."
JB design does work regularly with municipalities and Beaumont reported that the cemetery project is a viable project to be funded by the Permanent Community Impact Board.
"It seems like a great opportunity at this point to be able to get funding from the CIB, they do have funding available. At this time the best option may be to seek funding for approximately half of the Butler area, so that would be about 1,500 to 2,000 plots. If this is something you would like to do, the application needs to be in by Feb. 1 to be funded during the summer funding session." said Beaumont.
According to council member Urbanik, because the cemetery project is already on the priority list at the CIB, funding this summer is a very real possibility. He further reported officials from ECDC Environmental have agreed to help the city with earth removal and movement as an in-kind type donation toward the city and the project.
"This project has be moving forward very well," said Urbanik, who requested to continue working on the cemetery even after he leaves the council at the conclusion of this year. "Don Butler has been great to work with, he is from this area and has agreed to let the city pay for the property over two payment rather than in one lump sum."
Urbanik reported that while the roads, the fencing and the software to manage the cemetery will be major costs, many of the other costs associated with operation and maintenance could be mitigated by resources and city employees.
"I think we can save money by cutting back on several roadways in the planning of the cemetery and with those saving, I think this is something we can get done. It works out nicely that this property will also match up with Sunnyside's cemetery, keeping everything together." explained the outgoing council member. "I very much feel that this cemetery is something the city of East Carbon should work toward providing for East Carbon residents.