2019-03-14 / Front Page

New name is ‘City West Cemetery;’ clean-up crews will be more careful


In the future, more care will be taken to insure that gravesite adornments remain in place as long as they are appropriate and in good condition. In the future, more care will be taken to insure that gravesite adornments remain in place as long as they are appropriate and in good condition. Following a series of public meetings held in order to gather input concerning preferences for naming the City of Washington’s cemetery located on Tate Street, the City Council adopted “City West Cemetery” as the official name of the cemetery. The action was taken at Monday’s regular meeting of the council. A new sign at the entrance will display the official name.

Mayor Ames Barnett also addressed a recent issue involving the accidental removal of flowers from some of the graves at Resthaven Cemetery. With new employees hired just for cemetery maintenance and new clean-up procedures implemented, some flowers and arrangements were removed and disposed of when they should not have been. A number of those who placed the flowers were upset at their removal and vehemently voiced their complaints.

“We apologize to those families,” Barnett said, with assurances that “It won’t happen again.”

He explained that additional training had taken place and those employees are now clear about proper procedures. “Some city guys made an honest mistake and we have corrected the problem,” he said. “Those employees are excited about their jobs and they have removed some flowers that they should not have removed. They feel as bad as the families whose flowers they removed.”

Members of the city’s Cemetery Committee were in attendance at the council meeting and Barnett praised them for their efforts.

“The Cemetery Committee has worked hard and people have put their time and effort in, but it kind of goes unnoticed until something is done, and that’s the way things go in some cities,” he said. “With awesome and good intent, they have made some changes in naming streets, naming cemeteries, and getting some little things out of the way that should have been done years ago.”

Pointing out that action to modify the cemetery ordinance was taken at the February meeting of the council, Barnett said the committee “wanted to be allowed to remove old flowers from graves. My understanding of the intent is that if it’s Valentine’s Day and somebody puts roses out there, then July comes and there are dead roses laying around, they wanted to be able to remove those.”

Somewhere in the process, the line between which flowers should be removed and which should remain became blurred. That has now been corrected.

“At the end of the day,” Barnett said, “the cemetery is going to be better because of what this committee has done.”

The official stated mission of the Cemetery Committee is “to preserve the legacies of those at eternal rest in the city cemeteries by sharing their memories with the public, and through the enhancement and stewardship of the properties.”

Notable changes, among others, in the city’s cemetery ordinance are as follows:

No burials in Old School cemetery will be allowed without a burial permit.

Effective June 1, 2019, the cost for any lot in any of the city cemeteries shall be $300 for any two-grave lot for residents of the City of Washington.

Effective June 1, 2019, the cost for any lot in any of the city cemeteries shall be $500 for a two-grave lot for anyone living outside the city limits of the City of Washington.

Plants and flowers placed on a grave may remain until they become disarranged or cease to be of good color or condition. Any arrangements that are clearly holiday-themed will be removed after 30 days.

Any cement vault tops shall be buried to a minimum depth of 12 inches measured from the top of the vault to the finished grade of the closed grave.

A section providing for designation as a flat cemetery was removed from the ordinance.

The cost of [a grave opening] permit shall be $25. The cost of an after-hours permit shall be $75. Penalty for not obtaining a permit shall be $200. Failure to comply with this section shall result in a misdemeanor offense and fine of $1,000. Repeated violation of this chapter by the funeral home can result in revocation of burial privileges.

Permits are to be purchased at the city business office during regular business hours: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. After hours service can be reached by calling 706-678-3277.

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