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Department of General Services


Title: City Owned Cemeteries Author: Bagleyd Last modified by: whitedy Created Date: 5/8/2014 6:01:47 PM Document presentation format: On-screen Show (4:3) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Department of General Services

  • Department of General Services
  • May 12, 2014

Briefing Overview
  • Future vision
  • City owned cemeteries
  • Cemetery responsibilities
  • First steps towards improvement
  • Current condition of cemeteries
  • Current maintenance and operations budget
  • Current challenges
  • Mount Calvary Cemetery Complex

Future Vision
  • Revitalize cemeteries by creating park-like
    settings that invite visitors
  • Install park benches
  • Install historic signage
  • Install water fountains
  • Install matching trash receptacles
  • Increase overall lawn-care maintenance

Future Vision (continued)
  • Capitalize on the historic significanceof our
  • Tap into a new tourism market with our Path of

Current City Cemeteries
  • Cedar Grove Cemetery
  • Oak Grove Cemetery
  • Olive Branch Cemetery
  • Mount Calvary Cemetery Complex
  • Mount Calvary
  • Mount Olive
  • Fishers Hill (will take ownership in July 2014)
  • Paupers Field

Cedar Grove Cemetery
Oak Grove Cemetery
Olive Branch Cemetery
Mount Calvary Cemetery Complex
Fishers Hill
Mt. Olive
Paupers Field
Mt. Calvary
Mt. Calvary Cemetery Complex
Brief History
  • Prior to 1960 City owned managed the
    following cemeteries
  • Cedar Grove
  • Oak Grove
  • Olive Branch
  • 1960 City sold all of its vacant grave sites to
    a private entity and entered an agreement with
    Wimbrough and Sons to manage burial operations at
    all cemeteries
  • 1964 City sold the land east of Olive Branch
    Cemetery to Wimbrough and Sons and adopted an
    ordinance designating this land the Olive Branch
    Cemetery Annex

Current Cemetery Responsibilities
  • Contractor Wimbrough and Sons
  • Sale of vacant graves
  • Digging of graves
  • Record Keeping
  • Scheduling interment services with funeral homes
  • City
  • Grass cutting
  • Removal of flowers
  • Road maintenance
  • Repair of grave sites
  • Trash and debris removal

First Improvement Steps
  • We have reorganized the cemetery operationsand
    created a Cemetery Superintendent usingan
    existing position
  • Worked with the Sheriffs Office to develop an
    agreement for regular grass cutting and weeding
  • Developed partnerships with private groupsto
    improve our historic cemeteries
  • Developed a plan to reach the goal of a 7-daycut
    cycle for all cemeteries

First Improvement Steps (continued)
  • Major clean-up of old brush, debris and old
  • Regularly remove old flowers and memorials
  • Reviewing the existing City Code and looking
    toward developing a reasonable schedule for
  • Installing signage that clearly states what is
    acceptable in our cemeteries under the existing

Current ConditionsIn City Cemeteries
  • Cedar Grove
  • Grass is on a 7-10 day cut cycle.
  • Replacing historic markers
  • Remade the Scatter Garden
  • Regularly repairing historic graves
  • Regularly repairing cave-ins
  • Very good staff relationship with the Cedar Grove
    Cemetery Foundation

Current Conditions (continued)
  • Oak Grove Cemetery
  • Grass is on a 7-10 day cut cycle.
  • Completed major clean-up of old brushand
  • Replaced fencing where needed
  • Ordered new signage

Current Conditions (continued)
  • Olive Branch Cemetery
  • Grass is on a 7-10 day cut cycle
  • Completed major clean-up of old brush and
  • Regularly removing old flowers
  • Moved grave-digging equipment out of sight
  • Covering work areas with appropriate fencing
  • Ordered new signage

Current Conditions (continued)
  • Mount Calvary Cemetery Complex
  • Grass is on a 7-10 day cut cycle.
  • Completed a topographical survey
  • Removing brush, debris and overgrowth
  • Removing un-necessary trees
  • Developing a plan to repair cave-ins
  • Meeting with ERC to discuss drainage issues
  • Improving roadways using old crushed asphalt from
    High Street re-paving (a temporary fix)

Current Funding
  • The perpetual care fund currently totals
  • Should appropriate annual earnings from the
    investment of these funds to cemetery maintenance
  • Current earnings are insufficient to cover total
    cost of cemetery maintenance
  • Current 2013-2014 budget (cost) is 220,420
  • Ideal annual budget is 470,000

2014-2015 Proposed Budget
  • The proposed budgeted funds for cemetery
    maintenance is 280,0000 which incorporates
    several improvements in efficiency
  • Cemetery Superintendent
  • Lower contract price by utilizing the Work
    Release Program
  • Certain infrastructure improvements

Current Challenges
  • Compliance with the City Code
  • Mt. Calvary, Mt. Olive, Fishers Hill
    andPaupers Field condition
  • Serious Drainage issues are persistent at this
    cemetery. A complete drainage plan should be
    done for this area. The amount of work to be done
    is far beyond what the Perpetual Care Fund will
    ever be able to addressThere is no way this
    project could be handled within the Perpetual
    Care Fund or General Operating Budget. This will
    be a large project and will take numerous years
    to complete.
  • Excerpt from the November 16, 2006
  • City Cemeteries Perpetual Care Fund 10-Year
    Master Plan, page 16

City Code on Enclosures and DecorationsSection
9-47 and Section 9-48
  • No enclosures, flower beds, hedges or borders of
    any kind will be permitted around or alongside
    of any grave.
  • Nor ornaments or decorations other than cut or
    artificial flowers shall be placed on any grave
  • Flags may be place on graves on Memorial Day
  • Floral designs may be used at burials, but shall
    be removed from lots within ten days

City Code on Monuments and GravestonesSection
9-41 and Section 9-42
  • A monument is any stone that projects more than
    24 inches above the ground
  • A gravestone must be between 4 and 12 inches
    thick and no more than 24 inches wide
  • A gravestone can be nor more than six inches
    above the ground
  • A grave can have only one stone.
  • All stones and monument foundations must be at
    least 4 feet into the ground


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Mount Calvary Cemetery ComplexMt. CalvaryMt.
OliveFishers HillPaupers Field
Future Goals
  • Restore the cemetery and the sanctitythat it
  • Have the cemetery placed on the National Register
    of Historic Places
  • Through the National Park Service
  • Develop the documentation that will identify the
    cemetery as one of Americas historic and
    archeological resources

Future Goals (continued)
  • Have the cemetery become a part of the Network
    to Freedom
  • Through the National Park Service
  • Develop the documentation to support the
    identification of the cemetery as a place
    associated with the Underground Railroad and
    thereby allowing it to become part of a network
    of Underground Railroad historical sites
  • Expand the cemetery with additionalgrave sites
    to support thePerpetual Care Fund

City of Portsmouth
Fishers Hill
Mt. Olive
Paupers Field
Mt. Calvary
City of Portsmouth
City of Portsmouth
City of Portsmouth
  • Current combined cemetery boundaries
  • Proposed new boundaries for cemetery and sale
    of grave sites

Collaborative Community Efforts
  • African American Historical Society is the
    supporting foundation - Mae Breckenridge
  • Application for the National Register and
    Network to Freedom historical documentation
    Nadia and Brenda Orton
  • Grant writer Margaret Windley
  • Volunteerism and clean-up champion Christina

Timeline of Activity
  • December, March, April Volunteer and City Staff
  • April
  • Successful grant of 4,000 to remove decaying
    trees / trees that are damaging grave sites
  • Completion of aerial survey and first step in
    developing design for remediation of drainage

Timeline of Activity (continued)
  • July Notice of Hearing for the City to
    officially take possession of Fishers Hill
  • Next step submit applications for the National
    Register and Network to Freedom
  • Fall Completion of design documents for solving
    the drainage issue and development of new grave
    sites to support perpetual care

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