By Linda Collins
Fairborn Daily Herald
MAD RIVER TOWNSHIP – The Mad River Township Board of Trustees have approved a final revision of the official rules and regulations of the Enon Cemetery.
After months of deliberating, the trustees came to the unanimous decision during the Dec. 19 township meeting. The amended guidelines will officially go into effect on Jan. 1, 2017 and begin the process of stricter enforcement of those rules and regulations, which trustees hope will improve the daily appearance of the cemetery grounds.
“We are asking patrons of the cemetery to respect and comply with the rules and regulations to avoid any personal items being removed from the gravesites. We understand that some patrons of the cemetery have good intentions when decorating their love ones’ graves, but some of the decorations and their placement are not consistent with the general orderliness of the cemetery grounds,” Estep said.
In September, the board reached a unanimous decision to review, update and step up enforcement of the cemetery rules and regulations that have been in place for more than a decade. At that time, Township Trustee President Robert McClure Jr. said a number of people had complained about the appearance of numerous gravesites and had expressed the desire for a tidy, uncluttered cemetery.
Estep said that all patrons visiting the cemetery should now review the keys rules that include the cemetery general policy, interments, decorations and monuments. She read a list of revisions that township trustees approved.
During mowing season, which falls between March 15 and Nov. 15, no decorations, with the exception of veteran’s flagstaff holders, are allowed to be placed on the ground. All floral decorations must be securely placed on the headstone or in an approved flower container that is secured to the concrete slab which has been installed by cemetery personnel. Monument saddle arrangements are acceptable, but they need to be attached properly as well.
No boxes, shells, toys, metal designs, ornaments, chairs, vases, glass containers, wires of any kind, wood or iron cases, glass and plastic blocks, lights of any kind, stuffed animals, toys, tin cans, crockery, waste baskets, pails, cardboard cartons, shepherd hooks, hanging baskets, candlelight holders and statues are allowed to be placed on gravesites at any time.
Special provisions will be made for holidays that take place during mowing season, such as Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July and Veterans Day. Estep pointed out one modification: decorations must be removed five days after each holiday during the mowing season and following a recent burial service.
“The trustees believe that floral arrangements covering new gravesites should be allowed to remain on the graves for five days following a burial service,” Estep said.
According to Estep, the cemetery staff will also continue to have the authority to remove any decorations of any kind from the gravesites if, in the judgment of the sexton, the decorations do not conform to the standards of the cemetery.
Winter decorations, such as holiday wreaths placed on easels and other artificial arrangements will be permitted from Nov. 15 to March 15. However, cemetery personnel will remove any decoration that becomes unsightly during the four-month period and all winter decorations on Mar. 15.
Estep also noted another change to Article II, Section 2 that pertains to cremated remains. Those remains must be placed in an “appropriate” container, which is determined suitable by cemetery personnel, before they are buried or placed in the columbarium.
The township trustees added a third section to Article II of the cemetery rules and regulations in late November that pertains to interments in the cemetery columbarium. All cremated remains may be permanently memorialized in the columbarium for a cost of $1,000 per niche. A maximum of two cremated remains, placed in appropriate containers, will be allowed per niche. Each opening and closing of the niche will come with a price tag of $450, and engraving will cost $200.
Interment policies regarding burials, including cremated remains, will remain the same. However, township trustees approved increasing the fees for the opening and closing of graves in an effort to offset rising operation costs, according to Estep.
The trustees raised the standard fee for opening and closing an adult’s grave to $900 on weekdays and $1,200 on Saturday. The fee for opening and closing a grave for cremated remains will now cost $600 on weekdays and $900 on Saturday. The standard fee for opening and closing an infant’s grave will remain the same which is $200 on weekdays and $250 on Saturday.
The cost of a grave space will now cost $900 for residents and $1,500 for nonresidents. The new price for a precast military foundation is $100, and a concrete foundation will now cost patrons 60 cents per square inch.
Township Trustee Joe Catanzaro said a new sign listing the key rules of the cemetery would be posted at the entrance of the Enon Cemetery at the beginning of next year. A copy of the amended guidelines will also be posted on the Mad River Township website in the near future.
“It is a good time to make these changes as we approach a new year,” Catanzaro said.