The Marion County Board of Supervisors received a request from a local historian and Central College professor at their meeting the week in regards to area cemeteries. Val Van Kooten of Pella requested that the county establishes a Pioneer Cemetery Association. Pioneer Cemeteries are defined as those who have less than a dozen new burials within 50 years.
Of the approximately 93 cemeteries in Marion County Van Kooten says nearly half of them are considered pioneer. She says many of these cemeteries are not being taken care of and if things don’t change soon many of them will be gone. Van Kooten says it comes down to a respect issue and someone needs to take responsibility for these burial sites. Van Kooten says the majority of the issues currently come from the lack of fencing around the cemeteries which allows tractors to plow throw them, livestock to trample them and wildlife to disturb them.
26 counties in Iowa currently have these associations in place, with the majority of them in the bottom tiers of the state.
Auditor Jake Grandia stated that the county can levy to fund this association and make the necessary repairs up to 6 ¾ cents per thousand. The board asked Van Kooten to recruit potential association members and the matter will be discussed again at a future Supervisors meeting.