The future of Oak Ridge Cemetery came into focus during Tuesday's Springfield City Council Committee of the Whole when several citizens, including a former alderman and a representative of a prominent funeral home, stood in opposition to the possibility of a private property management firm taking over operations.
P.J. Staab from Staab Funeral Home said the city should keep control of the sacred land where Abraham Lincoln is buried.
Former aldermen and businessman Bob Vose said he's gonna work to raise $1 million in private funds for an overlay program.
Roger Griffin, who represents union members at the cemetery, says that if a property manager takes over and the union contract expires, there could be a move to get away from unionized workers at the cemetery.
Several aldermen agreed that the city must keep control of the property and should consider more options to raise funds for the cemetery. Aldermen requested Oak Ridge Cemetery Executive Director Michael Lelys and the Oak Ridge Cemetery Foundation to regularly report to the council on the status of the cemetery and more ideas to raise money for the operations.
The city included hundreds of thousands more in funding for the cemetery to keep operations going and may consider more subsidies in the upcoming budget talks.