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Should cemetery on Sunol be a green park?

Original post made by Scott Curtis on Apr 10, 2010

Watching the City Council meeting on April 6th, several speakers asked the City Council to turn the Odd Fellows old cemetery on Sunol Blvd. into a green park .. and hurry up.

Seems to me that if the Odd Fellows never collected enough money to install lawns, or maintain the cemetery as a park, City taxpayers shouldn't pay to make this place as green and nice as our sports fields, just so that the few times a year family members visit graves, they get the fancy lawn look. If families wanted the fancy lawn look, they should have paid the $30k+ that those plots cost, and not the $2k that the Odd Fellows charged.

- Scott

BTW - I don't have any family buried there; and told my own kids to cremate me when it is my time.

Comments (27)

Posted by Joe, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 10, 2010 at 9:57 pm

(Comment deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)


Posted by Joe, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 10, 2010 at 9:59 pm

(Comment deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)


Posted by Kurt Kummer, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Apr 10, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Scott and Joe, as alway there are two sides to this. Scott, your position is well taken: Pleasanton didn't create this cemetery, or collect fees for 100 years, so why should today's residents or plot purchasers pay for making a parklike setting for the whole place now? Should the city charge folks buying plots now enough to maintain the rest of the cemetery in a parklike setting? Should we raise taxes to do it? Good questions. And Joe although your comments were pretty crude, it's also understandable to think that our city's founders are buried there, and why shouldn't we honor them with a beautiful resting place? So what should City Council do? Spend even more taxpayer dollars to correct a situation not of their making, or keep costs to a minimum and have a pioneer cemetery that is green in the winter and brown in the summer?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 10, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Why does land need to be green in the summer? I think it has nothing to do with honoring the dead and everything to do with the aesthetics of non-native peoples.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 10, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

What I meant was an imported, non-native aesthetic. A California oak savanna can be just as beautiful as a green lawn. It depends upon the beholder.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 10, 2010 at 11:19 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Have you ever seen landscaping in Arizona? Simply beautiful.


Posted by Kurt Kummer, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Apr 10, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Good point Stacey. Although maybe in our culture we simply identify green lawns with beauty because they truly are beautiful. And aren't we all 'non-natives' in one way or another?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 10, 2010 at 11:44 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Yes, most of us are non-native in one way or another. That doesn't mean we can't learn to appreciate and adopt the native aesthetic. There's a lot to learn there rather than imposing out-of-area ideals. Lawns in this area require more effort and resources to look beautiful than in other regions of the US where it rains most of the summer.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 10, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

BTW, I think the reason we identify a green lawn with beauty is completely cultural. America is truly an Anglo country culturally. It rains most of the summer back in Britain.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 10, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Very humid too!


Posted by Kurt Kummer, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Apr 11, 2010 at 12:01 am

So Stacey, should we let the Sports Park go brown in the summer? Or the soccer fields at Amador Park? Should we get rid of the arroyos and let Stoneridge Mall, Val Vista and Hopyard Road flood in the winter? I'm not arguing with you, just wondering.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 11, 2010 at 9:53 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Heh, Kurt, no one is playing soccer in the cemetery.

Soccer _is_ played all over the world in many places where they don't have lawns to play on. No, I'm not saying to get rid of the lawn at the Sports Park. There's a time and a place for lawn. There's a safety factor involved in playing soccer on lawn versus a dirt patch.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 11, 2010 at 12:02 pm

PW online staff...how rude of me I am sorry. [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by Kurt Kummer, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Apr 11, 2010 at 12:03 pm

I get you Stacy. My point was simply that we massage the natural landscape every day to best meet the needs of that part of the community. It seems like the question boils down to: is the cemetery where the founders of our town are laid to rest the "time and place for a lawn?" And if so, who pays for it and the sprinkler system necessary to keep it green?


Posted by Joe, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 11, 2010 at 4:14 pm

PW online staff...how long did it take you to figure that out ? And why remove the comment about cholo...that wasn't disrespectful or offensive...that WAS A FACT!


Posted by resident, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 12, 2010 at 9:43 am

We water lawns for soccer at a park that is paid for in the city budget. It is supposed to be green and grassy to play sports. I presume that visiting teams also pay fees to use the park. There is not one single good reason to waste water to green up lawns in a cemetery -- ANY cemetery, paid for or not. It is unthinkable for the city to spend money to do this when the Odd Fellows did not provide for it. It is outrageous for anyone to think that the overtaxed citizens of this town should be further burdened to create a year round green lawn for dead people who surely do not care about it at all.
Don't even get me started about the water wasted on golf courses . . .


Posted by Hybrid Owner, a resident of Valley Trails
on Apr 13, 2010 at 8:46 am

I am with you 'resident'. Leave the cemetery alone. In this economy the city does not need to be spending money on anything that is not absolutely necessary to the daily operations of running the city.


Posted by Jon, a resident of Birdland
on Apr 13, 2010 at 8:53 am

I have family there and we paid a lot more than $2000. It is not the fault of the families buried there that poor management was in place. If the city has taken it over then they should be responsible for it's condition now. If that means using tax dollars then so be it. If you do not like it and are one of those "Pleasanton taxes us too much" kind of people then MOVE and stop crying about everything.


Posted by Marie, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 13, 2010 at 8:55 am

Hi,
I agree with Scott I don't think the taxpayers should have to pay for that we pay for enough. Part of my propety taxes go to schools and I don't even have kids. It would be great if the city just maybe does some upgrades. I moved to Pleasanton almost a year ago and drive past that cemetery everyday and did notice its kinda gloomy. How about artificial grass(they have some that you can't even tell is fake) or more plants. I don't think a huge amount of money has to be poured into it. Its still a nice piece of history for our town.


Posted by Scott, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 13, 2010 at 9:04 am

Hybrid owner,

The city has money to finish the projects they started and should. They can not start any new ones but they have a duty to complete tasks they started.


Posted by resident, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 13, 2010 at 10:21 am

to Scott (author): You sound so arrogant; just because you want to be cremated, does not mean other people want to, nor does their religion allow them to. It's not my business what you do with your bones; just like it's not your business what others do with their dead bodies! You have no respect for the deceased!


Posted by Dave Ferguson, a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 13, 2010 at 11:27 am

I was born and raised in Pleasanton. We currently live in San Ramon but run a business in the Tri-Valey. Is there anyone interested in trying to work with IOOF and possibly boy scout and girl scout troops with the possibility of business fund raising to possibly restore, preserve, improve and maintain such a historical landmark.
Dave Ferguson
Mr. Rooter Plumbing of the Tri-Valley
(925) 416-0966


Posted by Denise, a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Apr 13, 2010 at 1:03 pm

I have lived in Pleasanton for over 40 years and have spent 24 of them tending my Dad's site at the cemetery. I am completely happy as to how it looks now,as there is no reason to have green lawms. It would be not only costly but a waste of water and has nothing to do with respecting our family members who have passed. A hillside or two of native wildflowers, wild roses or bulbs are nice and just as beautifuland effective as green grass.
Having the cemetery become a park would be sad. Pleasanton has plenty of parks and this does not need to be one more. I would not like to se any more soda cans, cigarette butts or any other unnecessary trash than already sometimes on the grounds. I would not like this to turn into some "hang out place" for people to go and not be respectful.Thanks


Posted by Howard Neely, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Apr 15, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Dear Readers Concerning the Cemetery,
Being one of the speakers at the April 6th CC Meeting, I certainly appreciate the interest residents are showing concerning Pleasanton Pioneer Cemetery.
As of this date I am in Washington DC with my grandson, showing him some of the historic sites, one of which is the Arlington National Cemetery. Our Country is one of the few in the world which honor their dead, especially those who died serving their country. We have many veterans buried in our cemetery, so we too, need to show some respect. Hopefully, we will be able to Master-Plan our cemetery in the near future.
The purpose of our attending the CC Meting was to make the public more aware of needed changes and upkeep of our expanding cemetery, so please keep tuned. As many of our parks are reconginzed as top notch in the State, we would like to see our Cemetery so recognized.
Blessings to all for your interest.......Howard Neely


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 15, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Average precipitation at the Arlington National Cemetery during the summer months of Jun, Jul, Aug, even Sep: 3.13 in., 3.66 in., 3.44 in., 3.79 in. (Web Link)

Average precipitation in Pleasanton CA during the summer months of Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep: 0.09 in., 0.03 in., 0.08 in., 0.24 in. (Web Link)

So the question is, as Mr. Kummer put it so succinctly: "is the cemetery where the founders of our town are laid to rest the "time and place for a lawn?" And if so, who pays for it and the sprinkler system necessary to keep it green?"


Posted by long time resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 16, 2010 at 6:36 pm

The people who bought plots in the Odd Fellows cemetery knew this was a Pioneer cemetery. They did not spend the money for an annuity to maintain the cemetery like a private cemetery.

Out of respect to those who bought a plot in a pioneer cemetery, we should not be changing the cemetery into a manicured park. This cemetery is now maintained well and in fact looks a whole lot better than the catholic cemetery next to it which is all concrete.

We can respect those who founded our community by maintaining the cemetery in the way it is being done now.


Posted by Lori, a resident of another community
on Apr 20, 2010 at 12:29 pm

There seems to be several comments on this subject. I believe that the city has a maintenance crew that are going to be paid whether or not they have work. It doesn't seem like too much of a stretch to water the lawn, cut lawns and trim trees. Once the city took over this cemetary, they have a duty to at least keep it in a condition that won't affect property values and to keep it in a condition that is consistent with the status of Pleasanton. This cemetary is on a main road coming from the freeway AND is near a very nice community. The town does not deserve, nor the nearby residents, nor the families who grieve at that cemetary an eyesore or a reminder of how little the dead mean to the members of this community. I'm sure the people of Pleasanton want to send out a better message than that to visitors.


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