Who (or what) is buried in the Kenai Cemetery?
The Kenai City Council hopes $4,000 will go a long way toward answering that question. The council on Wednesday appropriated the funds to conduct a geophysical survey of the cemetery to identify unmarked grave sites.
According to city planner Marilyn Kebschull, the city has spent a lot of time and effort over the years to map out the cemetery and transfer information about who's buried where onto computer files. But since there are a number of plots that are unmarked and may or may not be occupied Kebschull said the survey will enable the city find out which spaces are actually taken.
Since the cemetery continues to grow, Kebschull said the city needs to be able to utilize as much of its space as possible.
"The issue now is space and trying to determine what's there and what can be used," she said.
The $4,000 will be used to contract with Coble Geophysical to perform seismic mapping of the ground beneath the cemetery. This mapping will show conclusively where unmarked graves are located.
Kenai City Clerk Carol Freas told the council that a proposed plan to build a gazebo at the cemetery makes the need to find out where grave sites are located even more important.
Freas said there are some old records available to guide the city, but it's believed there are a number of sites that are currently unknown.
"The records are very sketchy over the years," Freas said.
Once the survey is finished, the city will know exactly where the unmarked graves are. That, coupled with existing information on which plots are reserved or already in use, will enable the city to have a thorough database of cemetery records.
In other action Wednesday, the council:
n Appropriated $5,000 to match a state of Alaska grant for the purchase of a new thermal imaging camera for the Kenai Fire Department.
Fire Chief Scott Walden told the council that, among other things, the camera will give the fire department greater capabilities when conducting search-and-rescue missions in burning buildings.
n Transferred $6,000 in the general fund for the purchase and installation of a new vehicle hoist at the city shop.
n Approved a lease application for counter space at the Kenai Airport by Mike Spi-sak, owner of Bellair Inc., the company which runs the Kenai Express air passenger service.
n Accepted $11,867 in state grants for the Kenai Community Library, $10,391 of which will be used to purchase new books.
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