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Pleasanton Cemetary

Original post made by James Townsend, Castlewood, on Jul 26, 2010

I drive by the Pleasanton Cemetery daily, and have noticed since Pleasanton has taken it over, the grass is watered less and the grass has died. It is a very somber looking place, and if I had a loved one there I would be very upset.
Has anyone else noticed this?

Comments (14)

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Posted by Tessa
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 26, 2010 at 9:55 am

Yes I have noticed that...why is Pleasanton not doing anything about it?

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Posted by Kurt Kummer
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jul 26, 2010 at 12:51 pm

When City Council voted to take over operations and maintenance at the Cemetery there was much discussion of what should and should not be done there. After lengthly public discussion, Council decided to acquire the cemetery and maintain it as a "Pioneer Cemetery." This means that in the summertime, the grass turns brown, and in the wintertime it turns green. A full sprinkler system would be fairly expensive, and at this time of reduced city income, the decision was to let nature take its course.

So the short answer to your comment is that the city council is doing exactly what they said they'd do.

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Posted by res
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 26, 2010 at 8:53 pm

The cemetery looked much worse before the city took it over. It actually looks really good now because the work the city has done as well as local service groups including Rotary. It was not previously watered more; maybe you were noticing it a a time when it was not so hot outside.

Most people do not know that this was established as a pioneer cemetery. That meant that the people who bought plots did not pay large fees to ensure that the facilities were kept manicured. Those who bought plots knew that there would be minimal maintenance and if people wanted their plots to look manicured they would have to do this themselves. Manicured cemeteries charge more so they can set up an endowment which pays for the maintenance of the facility (and which by law requires a financial plan to show its long-term viability) . It would not be fair to the taxpayers have people buy plots here with the knowledge that they were not paying for an endowment but then have the city come in later and maintain the cemetery at taxpayer expenses.

I applaud the work the city has done to date.

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Posted by James Townsend
a resident of Castlewood
on Jul 26, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Thank You so much for all those who responded. I did not know any of this...

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Posted by Howard Neely
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jul 27, 2010 at 8:48 am

Fellow pleasantonites: The Pioneer Cemetery is in constant transition, so the public has to be patient with progress. Tonight, there will be a group of people meeting at the Cemetery to discuss it's progress and the future. We welcome those interested to stop by from 6:30 to 8:30 pm to make comments and to talk to the Director of Park and Community Services.
An Ad Hoc Master-Plan Committee for Pleasanton Pioneer Cemetery has been formed and is interested in community support. If interested contact

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Posted by amazing
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Jul 27, 2010 at 9:10 am

Amazing the city has money to rent statues for downtown, but can't water the grass!!!

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Posted by mooseturd
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jul 27, 2010 at 9:21 am

mooseturd is a registered user.

In my opinion Pleasanton has their priorities straight. It's much more enriching for the population to view great art than to watch grass grow on a cemetery. I cannot imagine taking school classes for a tour of the beautiful grass on the graves.

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Posted by carrie b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2010 at 10:01 am

Having traveled extensively across our country both for business and pleasure I have picked up a quirky hobby...I always stop in at the local cemetery. Some cemeteries are so beautiful with manicured lawns and maintaied roads, and some are pioneer cemeteries, natural and somewhat unkept. They both have a place in our culture. Our local cemetery was established as a pioneer cemetery...let's leave it that way. Also, my kids enjoy visiting cemeteries. When they were younger they loved looking for the headstone with the oldest date. Now they try to imagine what happened to the person. It helped them deal with the deaths in our family...

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Posted by Gayle
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jul 27, 2010 at 11:08 am

In Prescott AZ they have a Pioneer cemetary where volunteers take care of the cemetary for the plots of those who can not or live far away. Some of my family lives there and my parents are buried there. I think it is a wonderful thing to keep the cemetary clear of weeds etc. I volunteered when I was visiting one time and it was very uplifting. I am sure if you asked for volunteers to keep the cemetary nice you would have many. I know I would. I love this little cemetary and if I could help with its upkeep, I would be happy to do so. Just a thought.

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Posted by artlover
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 27, 2010 at 3:31 pm

In regards to the statues downtown and the pioneer cemetary- they have NOTHING to do with each other. The money used for renting the statues has been in an account for years and years- with the express purpose to be used in accordance with the publically approved Downtown Master Art Plan. In fact, The City has NOT contributed to this account for a couple of years now. "Due to the economy"
I find it sad that for something that gives so many people joy: ART- it's always one of the first things to go.
So, getting the grass watered at the cemetary is also "due to the economy" but that is where the comparison ends.

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Posted by res
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 27, 2010 at 9:41 pm

There a several issues with watering the grass. There is the cost of water but more important, there is no decent irrigation system in place there and if it costs the city $300,000 to in a bathroom downtown, who knows how much it will cost to put in an irrigation system.

I feel that a pioneer cemetery maintained as a pioneer cemetery is the best thing. I would also imagine that those who are pushing for this cemetery to have watered lawns are the same people who have purchased plots at a bargain rate and then want the taxpayers to pay to keep their plots looking all manicured.

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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Las Positas
on Jul 27, 2010 at 11:00 pm

When we bought our plots in the cemetery, it was NOT a "Pioneer Cemetery", but it was being watered by a wonderful volunteer who tried very hard to keep it up. Since the City took it over, it has been cleaned up a lot and the Rotary has done a wonderful job of making the historical gravesites much more visible and stately. But, for those of us who visit the cemetery, there really is a risk of twisting an ankle or falling as we walk to our plots because of the gopher holes and weed clumps. I was there tonight, and the discussion was very informative, but I still would love to see nice grass up there. And the groundskeepers stay a little farther away from the headstones to leave some grass (even dead grass) so there isn't so much dust.

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Posted by res
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 28, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Sharon, when did you purchase your plot and how much did you pay for your plot? I would be curious. It has always been a Pioneer Cemetery. I am sure you paid much less than a plot at a full service cemetery, like in Lafayette (which I have done for family members in the past). If you paid less than a cemetery like Lafayette, do you think the taxpayers should be subsidizing your plot by maintaining it? Or maybe an alternative is for the family members who have plots there to start a maintenance district and put more money into a fund for maintenance?

If it was watered, it was by some members of the Odd Fellows who owned the cemetery previously, donating their time to water.

Also, Rotary is not just fixing historical graves. They are going through the site every year looking for plots that need attention and then fixing them (after leaving a note on the plot so family members know what is going on and can let them know if they do no not want the work done).

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Posted by ponymom
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2010 at 10:54 pm

I do have a loved one buried there and I am appalled by the condition of the cemetery. It is a disgrace that it is run by the City of Pleasanton and is in such poor condition. Yes, the front was beautified with a nice sign and shrubs, however, what is behind the sign is awful. I drive by the cemetery every day as well.

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