The City Of Estherville Is About To Assume Responsibility For A Cemetery

Tue 5-4-2021

(Estherville)-- The city of Estherville is about to get into the cemetery business.

City Administrator Penny Clayton informed the city council Monday evening the Oakhill Cemetery Association is disbanding effective June 30th. Clayton reported Iowa Code requires a city take over jurisdiction of any cemetery that is abandoned within its city limits. As a result, she says the city will be taking over maintenance, record keeping and other items associated with the cemetery effective this coming July 1st. Clayton told the council it's going to put some additional demand on city staff, especially the Parks and Recreation Department...Clayton & Cemetery Maintenance 

"We will need some additional part time summer help or full time temporary help during the spring, summer and fall to help maintain that this year. In the short term we're going to try to take on the records management in house without adding someone. I don't know if that will be a long term solution or not."

Clayton added eventually they would like to contract for some of the record keeping and maintenance services.

The city in the past had provided an $18,000 stipend to the association. Clayton says while they will now be able to retain that, the additional expense of taking over the cemetery will far exceed that.

Clayton says there is a bit of history at the Oak Hill Cemetery in that the city's namesake, Esther Ridley, wife of Estherville's founder Robert Ridley, is interred there.