With just one vote from Inverness City Council, Oak Ridge Cemetery in Inverness is on track to add 4,200 more burial places.
With only about 200 spaces remaining at the 22-acre cemetery, the council accepted its staff’s proposal at its council meeting on Tuesday to take up space on the cemetery’s east-west routes.
The city sells around 70 lots a year to the Inverness-owned cemetery, City Clerk Susan Jackson told her council heads.
“There is so much land out there that is unused,” she said.
Taking a few yards from the roads will add thousands of lots and put the cemetery land to good use, Jackson said.
Oak Ridge Cemetery in Inverness is running out of space.
Without the changes, the cemetery, created in the 1800s, would have no space in about three years.
The graveyard roads are mostly paved paths, also wide enough for Victorian-era horses and carriages, running east to west and north to south. These paths are 10 to 12 feet wide.
The plan is to narrow the east and west paths by four or five feet and use that space for additional lots, Jackson said.
The paths were wide enough to transport coffins anywhere in the cemetery during the 1800s, but also to allow visitors, Jackson said.
“It’s unfortunate that death keeps happening and they don’t make any more land,” Jackson said.
The city will leave these paths north and south as they are now.
The additional space will be large enough for two lots side by side in addition to three cremation spaces. Jackson said some paths are even wider and can waste more space, enough for four burial sites and three for cremation.
Jackson said the city took over Inverness South Cemetery in the early 1980s.
The use of existing land by council members was a good strategy.
City Councilor Linda Bega described the plan as “very creative, well thought out”.
Councilor Jacque Hepfer said she was happy with the plan.
Now that the council has approved the changes and released the cemetery dish, the city will send the plan to the county for approval.
* Also in city business, council approved the city’s public works department’s request to purchase a 2022 F-350 for $ 40,989 to replace the department’s aging 2004 pickup.
* Also in city business, council approved a proposal from City Manager Eric Williams to expand the city’s Christmas decorating program.
Williams advises that the city will continue to decorate the city to include the State Road 44 trade corridor, the downtown area and the depot district.
“Last year’s Light Up the Lake event was extremely well received and included an evening parade of boats and an illumination ceremony at Liberty Park,” he said.
He now wants to expand that to include Liberty Park. Currently, the city only decorates the park with a Christmas tree.
He said he wanted the first Light Up Liberty park to focus on 18 decorative light poles in the park that surround the event lawn, where the centerpiece will again be the big tree.
Williams is asking local businesses, nonprofits, and families to enter a competitive Christmas decorating contest.
Each of the aforementioned 18 poles will be made available to interested groups to decorate and compete for prizes in the most old-fashioned, city-proud and patriotic categories.
The highlight of the program will be the City’s Light Up Event on December 4th with prizes in the different categories awarded on the same evening.
Anyone interested in participating can fill out the short form and will have the week of November 29 to decorate the light poles.
The decorated poles will be lit on December 4th during the Light Up event. Interested parties should contact the city’s Parks and Recreation department at 726-3913 or visit the city’s website – www.inverness.gov.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Councilor Cabot McBride, adding that she involves the community and focuses on the holiday spirit.