Urbana considers cemetery board to improve care of Oak Dale

Urbana officials want to establish a cemetery board to help improve the care of Oak Dale Cemetery.

The cemetery, which has been in existence since the mid to late 1800s, has been without a superintendent since the mid-2000 and has been the responsibility of the city’s parks and recreation superintendent.

“He’s done an excellent job keeping things rolling. But like many communities, you can only spread people so thin before things don’t get the attention they need between budget dollars and personal time and availability of proper assistance,” said Kerry Brugger, director of administration for the city of Urbana.

A resolution on the issue has will have its second of three readings by council on April 5, Brugger said.

Officials want the cemetery board to establish bylaws and an organizational structure, map out areas that need to be addressed and then provide the recommendations to Brugger.

The recommendations will then be considered by city officials during the budgeting process. The hope, Brugger said, is for the city to hire a new superintendent later this year or early 2017.

“Somebody that really kind of just owns the cemetery. I say owns in that they have a passion for it. They want to make it a place that is presentable, make sure that it serves the community well because this is our last or second to last opportunity to make an impression and honor those residents or those family members that have passed away in the community,” Brugger said.

Officials say the cemetery requires more attention than just someone who makes sure the grass gets cut.

“From the outside looking in, it’s a matter of mowing the grass and burying people. There’s really so much more to it,” Brugger said. “There’s infrastructure concerns. It’s just like the city. You’ve have roadways, you have infrastructure, you have structures, you have monuments, you’ve got schedules, you’ve got records. There’s a lot of things that have to happen”.

If the resolution passes after the third reading, Mayor Bill Bean will appoint members to the cemetery board.

“It’s going to be a privilege to serve, to help give back to the community. This is our opportunity we believe to do the right thing and really focus where the efforts need to be,” Brugger said.