4/6/2018 3:41:00 PM Abandoned cemeteries need to be paid some
attention; local government takeover proposed
Rep Dettmer, left, listens as legislative director for the state historical society David Keliher talks at the committee hearing March 22. Dettmer represents District 39A the southeastern corner of Chisago County and Forest Lake, and a large portion of Washington County.
There have been a couple situations over the decades where cemeteries in Chisago County have out-lasted the church congregation or perpetual care group watching over those who lie there. When no relations remain who are interested in keeping the cemetery in good repair, or the church is dissolved, who becomes responsible?
These sites often end up under the local Historical Society’s umbrella.
Representative Bob Dettmer, R-Forest Lake, is trying to appropriate some funds and give direction to the state society, on how to handle these “abandoned” cemeteries. And, if veterans are buried there-- the House bill requires the local government to step-up.
Dettmer became involved through his chairmanship of the MN House Veterans Affairs Division Committee and concerns about cemeteries that house veterans’ remains. The committee reviewed House File 4100 approximately two weeks ago and sent it to the House State Government Finance Committee. The Senate companion bill SF3771 is sponsored by Bruce Anderson, R-Buffalo.
The measure requires local government to manage and supervise cemeteries where veterans are buried.
Dettmer commented in a House publication information services article on the hearing; “I am learning there’s a lot of volunteer groups and local historical societies that have been taking to task these abandoned cemeteries and doing the work that needs to be done on them.”
Dettmer wants to direct the MN Historical Society to use $50,000 out of its $16.3 million Fiscal Year 2019 budget for a grant. The state archaeologist would be funded to update a 2011 state cemetery and burial grounds inventory. (Compiled by a consulting firm, Two Pines Resources Group, based here in Shafer.) Dettmer also wants to grant power to the Historical Society to create an adopt a cemetery program, giving volunteers and organizations an opportunity to care for those cemetery parcels nobody claims responsibility for anymore.
Ecumen was known as Board of Social Ministry when it ran Green Acres. BSM sold the old nursing home and acreage to a developer, who razed the nursing home building. A housing development Lucht’s Crossing is there now.
Ecumen/BSM used the sale proceeds towards developing the nursing home in North Branch, near the outlet mall.
Chisago County has 42 cemeteries in use and not in use.