Cemetery may get new owner | TheUnion.com

Cemetery may get new owner

The unkempt cemetery on Broad Street – thought to be the oldest in the county – may get some love from the living if a transfer deal goes through.

Nevada City Council members will review a proposal Wednesday to transfer ownership of city-owned Pioneer Cemetery to the Nevada Cemetery District. The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 317 Broad St., downtown.

“The Pioneer Cemetery has not been well maintained. There’s lots of damage and vandalism,” said Nevada Cemetery District board Vice-Chairman Dennis Cassella. “Since (the district) maintains 25 historic cemeteries, it made sense to us that we maintained this one, also.”

Burials began in the cemetery in 1851, and it was full by around 1900, Cassella said. Aside from headstones, no records survive of who was buried there.

“The information is very sketchy,” Cassella said.

In the 1980s, members of the Nevada County Historical Society catalogued 77 headstones out of an estimated 400 people who were buried there.

Cemetery district staff may use ground-penetrating radar to locate skeletons and determine whether space is available for more ground burials.

If the transfer is successful, the district would restore the headstones, replace the fence and clean up the area, among other improvements. Places for cremated remains – including a scattering garden – also are in the plans.

Nevada Cemetery District is asking Nevada City for $2,000 annually over the next 20 years as part of the transfer agreement.

The district is funded by taxpayers, but also generates revenue by maintaining active cemeteries.

To download the council agenda, visit http://www.TheUnion.com and click on this story.

To contact Staff Writer Michelle Rindels, e-mail mrindels@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4247.

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