By DAVID GREEN
Tipping tombstones at Fayette’s Pleasant View Union Cemetery are going to begin standing up straight at the rate of about 10 a year.
Working with the cemetery board, sexton Jason Ferguson is overseeing a foundation replacement project that will create a top-10 priority list of headstones that need attention. The work will be done at no cost to the lot owner.
Much of the cemetery consists of a heavy clay soil, Ferguson said, and that causes some long-term settling issues.
“Compound this with our cemetery’s only layout flaw—the tight parameter restrictions on burial spaces,” he said, and a problem emerges. “We have 10 feet in length to work with, and in this we have to fit a near eight-foot vault and an average two-foot wide foundation.”
Graves are excavated tight to the headstone foundation. When backfilled with clay soil, some stones tend to tilt toward the grave.
Tipping can also occur when a new foundation is installed after burial, placing it adjacent to the unsettled soil of the grave. Lot owners are encouraged to have a foundation poured before the need, he said.
“We are now spanning the lengths of foundations to fit the width of the grave spaces,” Ferguson said, and this joins the foundations like a narrow sidewalk. “Our thought is that the strength is in the length, or ‘the longer, the stronger.’”
Tipping stones are being repaired by removing the headstone, capping the tipping foundation with concrete to form a level surface, then reinstalling the headstone.
MEMORIAL TREES—More than a dozen trees have been removed at the cemetery over the past six years and two more dying ashes are slated to go. Not one of them has been replaced.
The board intends to soon introduce a memorial tree program to regenerate the tree population. Small memorial plaques will be placed at trees purchased by the public.
Look for details of the program in a future issue of the Observer.