As you wander through City Cemetery in Jackson, admiring the old headstones and the history they represent, you may be unaware that there are grass “streets” or “alleys” between some of the graves.
Maps of the cemetery indicate plots and named streets. But when you walk through the cemetery, it’s hard to know where you are. Unlike Russell Heights, which has street signs, City Cemetery has no markers to identify the streets.
This makes it hard to locate graves. The problem is compounded by the fact that many of the oldest markers are eroding and are hard to read.
Alderman David Hitt, a member of the American Legion, mentioned during the June 3 meeting of the Mayor and the Board of Aldermen, that the Legion likes to place flags on the graves of veterans every year for Memorial Day. He thanked the many volunteers who help with the project, but he added that it’s hard to find all the veterans in City Cemetery because the streets are unmarked and the tombstones are difficult to read.
Legion members and volunteers walk through the cemetery with maps looking for veterans’ headstones. Even with maps, “We don’t know where we are,” Hitt said.
“I’d like for us to think about, in next year’s budget, proposing a mechanism for funding some kind of marker. And I really don’t know what that marker is or what it would even look like,” he said.
Hitt wondered if the City staff could study the problem and have markers in place before Memorial Day next year.
City staff was instructed to look into the issue, get costs for small markers that would be appropriate for the old cemetery, and report back.
In other action:
• Sanitary sewer: The Board approved a change order in the amount of $14,968.50 to SAK Construction, LLC, of O’Fallon, for the 2019 Sanitary Sewer Lining Program.
• Columbaria: The Board accepted the proposal of Liley Monument Works of Marble Hill for $48,906 to fabricate and install columbaria at Russell Heights Cemetery.
• Land sale: The Board approved an ordinance authorizing a contract for the sale of real estate with Rosamund A. Welker for approximately two acres of land at 424 Howard St.
• Wastewater: The Board approved a change order increasing the time by 60 days to Brockmiller Construction, Inc. of Farmington, relative to the Wastewater Treatment Plant Influent Flow Monitoring System.
• Humane Society: In study session, the Board discussed an agreement with the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri for $26,000 to house animals brought there from the City of Jackson. It was noted that the Humane Society would not accept feral cats (those in a wild state, having escaped domestication), unless it had the funds to care for them.
Alderman Paul Sander said he was not in favor of the agreement. “How do they know if an animal is feral?” he asked.
The question was posed to JPD Captain Scott Eakers. He said he’s not sure volunteers at the Humane Society are always qualified to make that determination. And if they do label an animal as feral, what is the City of Jackson supposed to do with it?
The Board was scheduled to discuss the agreement in study session again this past Monday night.
Holiday Extravaganza of Lights: The Jackson Community Outreach Board has sponsored the annual Holiday Extravaganza of Lights in City Park at Christmas time. To pay for that project, members of the JCOB must do a lot of fundraising. The project is funded for this December, but members must raise funds now for December 2020. The JCOB requested that the City raise its contribution from $10,000 to $20,000 to fully fund the project. This would free up JCOB members from having to knock on doors as much, and they could use their available funds for other projects, such as “Touch a Truck.”
The Holiday Extravaganza of Lights brings many tourists to Jackson. Traffic counts show up to 25,000 vehicles drive through the park to see the lights. Visitors have been identified as coming from Perryville, Columbia, Kirkwood, Poplar Bluff and “all over,” said Alderman Wanda Young. The Board gave a head nod to approving the funding request.