Editor’s note: Oak Dale Cemetery is developing an outer section of the cemetery to accommodate the request for a family burial plot. Below is an explanation of the process.
In the fall of 2019, a local resident asked if it was possible to develop a family plot at Oak Dale Cemetery large enough to accommodate the installation of a prominent memorial and allow for multiple burial spaces. The vision was to design a space that would fit within the character of Oak Dale, reminiscent of the older sections of the cemetery, which contain large memorials and monuments identifying the graves of a particular family. During the early mapping of Oak Dale, families could purchase a large plot with multiple grave spaces, and erect a family mausoleum, large prominent monuments, or obelisks, to designate the final burial area for their family. For the past several decades, families typically have requested single, double, triple and an occasional quad burial plot, but the large family plots have not been in demand.
As we looked at the older sections of the cemetery, there wasn’t space available to accommodate the request, and in evaluating the newer section to the south of the original cemetery plat, it was agreed that the placement of a large monument would look out-of-place and detract from the way in which this area is being developed. One section of the original plat, section 69, has never been developed; the original plat for this section, completed in 1885, identified that the entire section had been platted, including the continuation of the roadway network leading through and around the section, but the section had never been mapped.
After further evaluation, an area of the section was identified and more detailed discussions continued to determine the feasibility of moving forward with developing a suitable plan. The request was presented to the Oak Dale Cemetery Board for consideration and the Board was in favor of proceeding with implementing the concept. In approving the plan at their December 20, 2019 meeting, they wanted to be cognizant of the historical significance of the cemetery and requested that crowded development not be considered for the section. In keeping with the intent of maintaining a more open concept, section 69 has been designated for use as a Family Section, and will require the purchase of a minimum of a 20 foot by 40 foot plot, which is the equivalent of twelve (12) single traditional burial spaces. With this designation, one (1) family monument may be erected on the plot, and all subsequent burials (traditional or ash) will only be marked with flush mounted markers; no other upright monuments will be permitted in the plot. More detailed regulations for the section are being developed, and it’s anticipated they will be on the agenda for approval at the Board’s final meeting later in the year.
Early this summer, survey work was completed for this section to align it with the original plat, and the sale of the selected plot within the section was completed in mid-September. The owner of the plot has ordered the monument which is anticipated to be delivered late next Spring, and in preparation for its erection, the foundation was completed during the week of September 28.
Editor’s addendum: According to city officials, the Butcher family is the first to buy into this section of the cemetery.
Kerry Brugger is director of administration for the city of Urbana.