Soldotna moved one step closer to breaking ground on a new cemetery last week, when the city's Cemetery Task Force released its proposal to the city council.
The proposal is the cumulation of the task force's six months of research and study into the possibility of locating a cemetery within the city. Currently, Soldotna has no municipal cemetery.
The report contains data compiled by the task force, outlining potential problems and concerns that will arise as the city moves forward with the cemetery plan. It also includes a list of Alaska laws regarding cemeteries that the council will use when debating the plan.
Also contained in the report is a ranking of seven sites the task force selected as potential cemetery locations.
At the top of the task force's list is a site near Redoubt Elementary School. The land is city-owned and is located at the end of West Redoubt Avenue, overlooking the Kenai River.
The task force listed potential concerns each of the possible locations might face. At the Redoubt site, the task force noted that the proximity to schools could invite vandalism or cause environmental concerns to arise over the site's proximity to the river.
The second choice for a cemetery is adjacent to the first site, and is on land owned by Exxon Valdez Oil Spill trustees.
Other possible locations include, in descending order of suitability, property at the Soldotna airport, near Arc Lake, across from the borough landfill, on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and on land owned by the U.S. Forest Service.
The city council thanked the task force for the months of work the task force put in.
Task force members Barbara Jewell and Pete Sprague gave a brief presentation to the council, explaining why a city cemetery was so important.
"Soldotna doesn't have a cemetery. That's why we're here," Sprague said.
Jewell said she enjoyed her time on the task force. She said many long hours had gone into the development of the plan.
"We did put a great deal of effort into this project," she said.
Now that a plan has been submitted, it's up to the city council to move forward with appropriating funds and deciding where a cemetery will be located. Only then will the problem of Soldotna lacking a cemetery be laid to rest.
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