Proposal to sell vacant Lansing cemetery land on upcoming ballot

Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 6:39 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - City officials and a cemetery volunteer group are taking a closer look at Lansing’s North Cemetery after years of neglect.

Related: Volunteers work to clean up Mid-Michigan cemeteries for Memorial Day Weekend

North Cemetery is the oldest of Lansing’s three cemeteries, including Mount Hope and Evergreen. Founded in 1852, as part of Delhi Township, the cemetery is home to some of the first Lansing families.

The City of Lansing received ownership in 1960. Over the years gravestones have fallen into disrepair and parts of them have been turned into traps for trash. Located above Miller Street, North Cemetery offers a break from all the noise.

The city is responsible for maintaining the cemetery. The city works with contractors to keep up with mowing their 300 mowing sites. That’s more than 600 acres of grass in 111 parks.

Loretta Stanaway volunteers her time taking care of Lansing’s cemeteries. She knows all too well how hard it can be to keep up with their care.

“It’s small it’s older it’s kind of hidden away. It doesn’t get the traffic that Evergreen or even Mount Hope gets,” Stanaway said. “So they are priorities and this gets bumped down the list.”

Over the years, later additions have been added. In 2003 an adjacent land owner donated a piece of land to the cemetery. It was supposed to be used for Cremain burials. However, they never got around to it. Now it collects trash and debris.

That’s why the city council proposed to sell the land to aid much-needed improvements. Brett Kaschinske, director for Parks and Recreation, said that would help North Cemetery.

“Then we can look at -- OK, how did the sale proceeds go for enhancing the cemetery partially North Cemetery,” said Kaschinske.

“I think we stand on the people who’ve gone before us. I think if we don’t know who they are, where they are and what they’ve done,” Stanaway said. “It’s hard for us to know where we are and where we’re going.”

For this to happen voters have to approve the sale and then it has to be put up for sale. Voters can expect to see that measure on the ballot this August.

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