Changes in some fees and what can be put at grave sites may be coming to Oak Grove Cemetery.
On Monday, City Council introduced legislation updating a number of fees and regulations at the site, located near Bowling Green State University.
The goal of the changes, said Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter at the meeting, is to maintain the cemetery “to the high standards that we enjoy today.”
“Our Public Works division does a terrific job at that,” she said.
A legislative document prepared by Tretter discussing the proposed changes said that, concerning fee changes, “staff has considered the amount of employee time spent in the cemetery along with review of comparative rates from other local cemeteries.”
While for BG residents, the purchase of an adult grave lot would not increase under the new fee structure – remaining at $325 — the cost for residents to purchase an infant grave lot would rise from $115 to $150. Nonresident grave lot pricing for adults and infants would increase, respectively, from $425 to $850, and from $130 to $250.
Pricing for interments for residents and non-residents, including weekend, holiday and cremation interments, would increase across the board, as would disinterment fees. For adult residents, interment on a non-weekend, non-holiday would rise from $350 to $600. For adult non-residents it would increase from $460 to $800.
Among other proposed changes would be:
• Restrictions on the height of new monuments or headstones. Under the new guidelines, the height of new monuments or headstones, measuring from the grassline to the top of the monument, would not exceed 36 inches. In the proposed regulations, “any violation may result in the city issuing an ‘order to remove’ item at the expense of the installer/owner.”
• Restrictions on items to be placed at graves, and the planting or placement of flowers. The new regulations would disallow mulch, glass objects of any kind, solar powered lights, wind socks, pinwheels, mailboxes and steppingstones; fences, hedges, posts, decorative stone, and enclosures of any kind around graves and lots are already prohibited.
Cut, artificial or potted flowers “must be in an urn suitable for containing flowers” and should be placed on the side of the headstone or monument “so that it will not impede mowing or maintenance.”
Rose bushes would be added to the list of prohibited plants on lots and graves, and the regulations would be changed to read that “no trees or shrubbery will be planted in the Cemetery except by the City.”
The legislative document noted that “the City certainly recognizes the solemnity of Oak Grove cemetery and that personal remembrances and grave lot enhancements often occur at graves. While we strive to respect those activities, we must do so with the balance of effective and efficient cemetery maintenance and we also must protect those persons visiting the cemetery.”
• Would disallow additional graveside benches after June 15 of this year. “Existing benches may remain and are encouraged to be placed in a position that promotes ease of maintenance of grave sites,” the new regulation would read.
• Standardization of the headstone footer size, which the legislative document indicated is “currently determined on a ‘case-by-case’ basis but standardizing will improve efficiency and stability for headstones.”
• Also added would be sections codifying the cemetery hours (from a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset) and when disinterments could take place (Monday through Thursday on non-holidays). Further, a section on indigent burials would be added; the responsibility for such burials, according to the legislative document, was passed from the state to municipalities in recent years.
The cemetery received attention during a strategic planning session held with council and city administrators in February. At that time, Public Works Administrator Brian Craft said that there were 442 available plots at Oak Grove, which holds about 60 to 70 burials a year.
Craft said, concerning dwindling available space at the cemetery, a decision would have to be made years in advance concerning the city’s next steps about where another cemetery might be located. He noted that Bowling Green owns about 40 acres at Green Road and Poe Road.