News


Improvements coming to city's Pioneer Cemetery

Council OKs group to plan veterans memorial, better landscaping

Long-awaited improvements to Pleasanton's city-owned Pioneer Cemetery, including veterans memorial, are now more likely after the City Council voted Tuesday to create a seven-member committee to determine what is needed and how much it will cost.

The 120-year-old cemetery, which the city purchased in 2007 from the International Order of Oddfellows, has seen some improvements since the Pleasanton Parks and Community Services Department and the Rotary Club of Pleasanton invested time and money to cart away litter, repair broken benches and pavement, and spruce up the landscape.

But for people like Frank Capella and Doug Miller, who serve on a volunteer cemetery group they formed, much more needs to be done. Some tombstones are still tilting, many can't be read and a narrow road around the cemetery, located off Sunol Boulevard near I-680, is difficult to maneuver, especially by older drivers who go there to visit a loved one's grave.

At Tuesday's meeting, Kathleen Yurchak, assistant director of operations services, received the council's approval to form a Cemetery Master Plan Oversight Committee and to spend up to $50,000 in consulting fees to consider improvements. These may include an irrigation system that the cemetery never had, better landscaping and ongoing maintenance requirements. She estimated developing the master plan could take six months or longer.

Some members of the City Council in 2007, when the decision was made to acquire the cemetery, were openly squeamish about the purchase because of the poor condition it was in. Graves and headstones dating back into the 1800s were sold in a one-time payment plan with no perpetual care provisions as modern-day cemeteries have. In many instances, families of those buried at Pioneer have themselves died or moved away.

Yurchak and others on the city staff said there are no plans to turn Pioneer into a pristine landscaped cemetery found in other locations, but they agreed that some improvements would help.

Miller and Capella said they are working with veterans organizations and other groups to create a privately-funded means of building the veterans memorial and to help pay future maintenance costs. The price tag for the memorial alone is $50,000.

Those at Tuesday's meeting grew silent, almost spellbound, as arts contributor Nancy Harrington gave her vision of the cemetery.

Traffic on Sunol Boulevard would be greeted with a creative sign inviting them to visit historic Pioneer Cemetery. Once inside the gates, they would be directed to a staging area where the cemetery's history, the names of early Pleasanton settlers and the more than 400 veterans buried there would be listed with a locator map to their graves. All through the cemetery, markers would provide more historic details.

Clearly, one of the first challenges for Yurchak and her committee will be to count the graves. She told the council that no one knows how many are buried at Pioneer beyond the 400 that Miller said are military veterans.

Comments

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Posted by Steve
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2013 at 9:50 am

This is wonderful news. Pleasanton has spent many dollars on sports fields for our youth. It is nice to see that it will spend the money to upgrade the cemetery. We have such a fine community, there is no reason our cemetery should be inferior. We should be proud to visit our loved ones of the past in a nice setting that is representable of our beautiful city. Nice job City Council.


Like this comment
Posted by Rick
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 19, 2013 at 10:34 am

Well done! This 'history' should receive improvements.

Glad to see this was approved


Like this comment
Posted by taxpayer
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 19, 2013 at 11:36 am

You have to be kidding. $50,000 just to study how much MORE to spend on this? The people who bought plots there paid bargain basement prices and now we are supposed to install irrigation and pay for the water to turn it into something it was not intended to be. Any city council member who votes to spend money on this needs to be voted out of office.


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Sep 19, 2013 at 12:03 pm

I don't quite understand why "taxpayer" is so upset?

Everybody pays taxes...how are you so special taxpayer?

If you're so unhappy,go back to where you ancestors came from!

problem solved...


Like this comment
Posted by Howard (Adams) Neely
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Sep 19, 2013 at 12:53 pm

FIVE CHEERS FOR CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS.
IT HAS TAKEN MANY YEARS TO GET CITY STAFF AND THE COUNCIL TO FINALLY REALIZE THAT WE NEEDED AN UPGRADE TO OUR PIONEER CEMETERY.
THE REVIEW COMMITTEE WILL BE ADDRESSING THE FUTURE NEEDS ALONG WITH
FIXING AND PRESERVING THE PAST HERITAGE.
IT WOULD BE WONDERFUL FOR PRESENT RESUDENCE TO JOIN IN DONATING SOME TIME AND EFFORT AND FUNDS.....BE A PART OF A GREAT CAUSE FOR OUR TOWN........PLEASANTON.
HOWARD (ADAMS) NEELY


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Sep 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Who is and who isn't allowed to be buried in Pioneer Cemetery?

Only residents of Plutonia? Legal residents only?


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Sep 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm

If only "legal" US residents can be buried in Pioneer Cemetery, Please consider changing your policy.

If you choose not to change it, I strongly recomment that No Public Funds be utilized for the makeover!


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Sep 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Please also remember that "illegals" already live in Plutonia and they pay Federal/State taxes.

Fair is Fair. Pretty is as pretty does!

i rest my case...


Like this comment
Posted by Victor
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Sep 19, 2013 at 3:43 pm

I paid in excess of $10K three years ago to bury my late wife in the newly opened area of the cemetery -- for a two level plot. Yes, it would be nice to have it a LITTLE nicer than it is now, which resembles a pauper's burial ground in some places. I like Ms. Harrington's vision, but it's kind of tight, at least in the Pioneer portion of this two-part cemetery. A consultant's report could lay out some options to be implemented over several years to mitigate against a big "hit" on the budget.

I'm unaware of any restrictions on WHO can be buried here. But it is a favored location for those of us in Pleasanton, legal, illegal, tea-partier or progressive.


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Sep 19, 2013 at 7:12 pm

Incidentally, there are also residents in Plutonia who entered the United States illegally from Europe and Asia.


Like this comment
Posted by tm17
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 24, 2013 at 3:10 am

When & where is this seven member committee meeting to discuss future plans for the cemetery? I would like to respectfully & quietly attend some of these meetings. If these meetings are not public, I would still like to be kept abreast of their plans...


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 24, 2013 at 10:05 am

It's less expensive if you get cremated.

i rest my case...


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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