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CITY COUNCIL MEETING 06/13/16 (Cemetery Ownership, Sonoco Expansion)

City Looks Into Cemetery Ownership
By Catherine Stortz Ripley
June 14, 2016

CAPTION: The city of Chillicothe is looking into the ownership of Forest Park Cemetery. The cemetery has not been maintained for many years.

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

The city of Chillicothe is pursuing ownership of a small cemetery within the city limits that has been abandoned and not properly maintained for many years. The cemetery, believed to be more than 100 years old, is between one and two acres with around 100 people buried there. Rose Lawn Cemetery, or more accurately known as Forest Park Cemetery, is located north of Chilli Bay Water Park and is in the southwest corner adjacent to Chillicothe Country Club. The city is discussing condemnation proceedings so that it could take over maintenance; however, research must be done to determine whether the city already owns the cemetery. The cemetery was created by the Chillicothe Cemetery Company in 1914, and it is possible that a clause in the deed may have stated that the cemetery would be deeded to the city if the company failed to maintain the property. "A newspaper clipping stated that there would be a provision that it would be forfeited to the city if it wasn't maintained, but I haven't seen the deed," City Attorney Robert Cowherd stated. "We need to research and get all the deeds back to when it was set up as a cemetery." Some local Boy Scouts recently worked to clear up a good portion of the cemetery, clearing brush and resetting a few grave stones. Discussion of cemetery ownership and maintenance surfaced recently following an inquiry by Chillicothe Councilman-at-Large David Moore. "My suggestion was only to benefit the cemetery to see that it would be maintained on a regular basis," he said. "If there is not an organized organization taking care of the cemetery, why can we not take the cemetery and make it part of the parks department and see that it is mowed and maintained?" Although it is a small cemetery, Scott Lindley, owner of Lindley Funeral Home, stated that there has been some activity in that cemetery in past years and stated that someone in Gallatin had a fund that had been used to help maintain the cemetery. Cowherd stated that the city is unable to spend money on the cemetery if it is privately owned. If it is privately owned, the city has two options to obtain title to the cemetery property: 1) have the Missouri Attorney general file a proceeding to dissolve the cemetery and once that happens, the title will go to the city; or 2) have the city acquire it by condemnation/eminent domain.

Updated 08/03/16 - The Chillicothe City Council began looking into the ownership of the small cemetery on Country Club Drive, adjacent from the Chillicothe Country Club and Chilli Bay Water Park, "Forest Park Cemetery," in June. An ownership search began due to the lack of maintenance the cemetery was receiving. The cemetery had been overgrown with brush and trees and several gravestones were broken. Some local boy scouts worked to clear up a good portion of the cemetery a couple months ago, clearing brush and resetting a few gravestones. However, the abandoned cemetery is in need of routine maintenance. The abandoned cemetery is believed to be more than 100 years old and is between one and two acres with around 100 people buried there. The cemetery was created by the Chillicothe Cemetery Company in 1914. Over the past several weeks city attorney, Robert Cowherd, conducted extensive title research to determine who the owner of the cemetery is. After investigating the chain of ownership, he found that the cemetery was deeded to the Chillicothe Country Club in January of 1999. In a memo to the city council, Cowherd stated that the Chillicothe Country Club is responsible for all maintenance of the property.

City to Seek Tax Credits for Healing Garden at Hedrick Medical Center
June 13, 2016

Chillicothe City Council members will consider a resolution regarding an application for $300,000 in state tax credits to support the healing garden project at Hedrick Medical Center when they gather for their regular semimonthly meeting tonight at City Hall. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. and is open to the public. The resolution states that the city owns Hedrick Medical Center and that the Gardens Project will benefit the public and provide health benefits and recreational opportunities for the citizens of Chillicothe. The application is being made to the Missouri Development Finance Board for the authorization of state tax credits to support fundraising efforts for capital improvements at the hospital. The council will also consider an ordinance regarding zoning requests of the Chillicothe Education Foundation property and the John Hutchinson/Don Metry Jr. property. The ordinance calls for rezoning a 45.6 acre tract from its former county zoning of agriculture to public zone, and a 24.8 acre tract from its former county zoning classification of agriculture to C-3 highway business district amending the city zoning map accordingly. These zoning requests are being made to allow for the construction of a new school building and access road near Chillicothe High School. The council will also consider an ordinance regarding video service franchises and an ordinance amending an a franchise agreement with Green Hills Telephone Corporation. Other items on the city agenda tonight include discussions regarding a community development block grant application for a rail spur expansion and condemnation of Rose Lawn Cemetery. Mayor Chuck Haney will make appointment recommendations for the Parks and Recreation Board and the Board of Adjustments. Police Chief Rick Knouse will present a 6-month review of the police department. An executive session is scheduled to following the regular council meeting, if needed.

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