If you want to be buried in Pleasanton, don't die yet. The City Council voted last night to allow sales of burial plots once again at the now-renamed Pleasanton Pioneer Cemetery on Sunol Boulevard, but no sooner than next March after up to 50 full-size gravesites and another 50 cremains niches are installed.
Also, the price will be increased, from what used to be a few hundred dollars under the ownership of the International Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F), whose now-defunct Pleasanton chapter sold its historic Pleasanton Memorial Gardens cemetery to the city of Pleasanton for $1 two years ago.
Burial fees now will total $6,950 for a double-depth vault, meaning that two individuals will be buried in separate vaults, one on top of the other, in a single plot measuring 3-feet by 8-feet. Cremains niches will cost $2,800, again for two vaults for cremains in niches measuring 3-feet by 4-feet. For both in-ground and cremains purchases, which must be paid at the time they are sold, the total fees include burial fees.
At the time the cemetery was acquired, Jim Wolfe, director of Parks and Community services, who was given responsibility for the cemetery, ordered a shutdown of burials until all current burial sites and the potential for new ones could be determined. At least 54 people, including 42 who live in Pleasanton, have submitted their names to purchase plots once sales start again.
At Tuesday's meeting, Wolfe said those who have their names on a waiting list will be considered first when sales resume with Pleasanton residents to be given first choice.
Wolfe said the city has contracted with Catholic Funeral Cemetery Services (CFCS) for assistance in researching and organizing administrative records that were received with the acquisition of the cemetery from the I.O.O.F.
Since there are a number of state compliance requirements related to the operation of cemeteries, a level of expertise that Wolfe said city staff does not possess, the city has expanded its contract with CFCS to handle burial services. The contract stipulates that while CFCS is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, the organization will provide services to cemetery plot owners regardless of their beliefs.
Although the council agreed to re-open cemetery plot sales, it delayed action on another proposal related to improving the cemetery's landscaping and ongoing grounds keeping, which the city is responsible for handling.
After initial sales have been completed, Wolfe's successor as director of Parks and Community services, Susan Andrade-Wax, will report back to the council with information on total receipts and if enough funds have been raised to cover added landscaping costs.