East Carbon residents and their neighbors in Sunnyside may be able to keep their dearly departed loved ones a little closer to home in the near future thanks to the work of local officials working to find funding for an east county cemetery.
"Right now the only real options for East Carbon and Sunnyside city residents is to either take their loved ones to Price or to Green River," explained former East Carbon Council member Andy Urbanik, who is still heading up the project after stepping down from the council at the end of last year. "Our real hope here is to create a community cemetery for the residents of both East Carbon and Sunnyside. We very much hope that they will take part in this project and will be approaching them with the details in the near future."
During their most recent city council session, East Carbon officials contracted with JUB Engineering for the duration of the cemetery project. At the meeting, JUB officials explained the scope of services they will be providing will include financial planning at the municipality and with the state's Permanent Community Impact Board on their behalf. The firm will also direct logistical and engineering work at the cemetery site.
According to Urbanik, who has been working on the project for more than two years, time is now of the essence as the city has hopes of having their grant application into the CIB before their Feb. 1 deadline.
"If we can get the application in by Feb. 1, then we can hope to have the first phase of this project approved during the CIB's March, April or May meeting. If that happens we could see funding as early as June enabling us to build this year," explained Urbanik.
The contract, which the council agreed to in principle pending a few language changes requested by their attorney, would place JUB in the city's service for the term of the cemetery project for approximately $7,000. This sum would garner the city Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Services, storm water management plan updates, assistance with the purchase, installation and use of Spatial Generations cemetery software, capital improvement planning, environmental studies, emergency planning and a laundry list of other engineering services.
Urbanik first met with JUB at a League of Cities and Towns convention more than two years ago, where they laid the seeds that would become the current cemetery project. Since then, local officials have negotiated to buy a local piece of property from Don Butler which lies directly across from the Sunnyside City Cemetery. They then conducted feasibility studies on the property and came up with a plan which they feel will receive funding assistance.
""The overall development of the property is fairly expensive," explained Urbanik. "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. To mitigate this cost, we have separated the project into two building phases. This will allow us to get started and provide a place for burial, which our residents need now and also make sure that we have enough plots for the future when the total project is completed."
Urbanik reported that when finished, the cemetery would be comprised of 4,500 single burial plots with the option to also purchase double burial spaces.
"You know, I feel that giving a resident a place to bury their dead is the fundamental responsibility of a city," said council member David Maggio, during the approval of JUB contract. "I have lived my whole life in the city of East Carbon and I tell you what, I have no desire whatsoever to be buried any place else."