2013-03-23 / News

Trustees to take over cemetery

By Scott Rawdon

UNION TOWNSHIP – As soon as grass starts growing again, Union Township will take over maintenance of the Licking Cemetery from the Licking Cemetery Association.

“If it’s in everyone’s best interest, that’s the direction we’re going to head,” said Trustee John Slater.

Township administrator Paula Greene said to make it official, the Licking Cemetery Association needs to provide a letter of intent, which would allow the township to take over cemetery maintenance.

Licking Cemetery Association Chair Henry Porter asked if the Licking County Prosecutor’s office could write the letter. “The association will sign it,” he said, adding that he wanted to make sure everything was handled completely correctly. “My only concern is the welfare of the cemetery, that it’s maintained and managed,” said Porter.

Porter asked trustees if they would make sure the cemetery’s grass was mowed even if it needs it before the prosecutor’s office makes the transfer of responsibility for the cemetery final.

“We can look after the mowing,” said Trustee President Rick Black. He said previously that the township purchased a new mower, which is more than capable of maintaining the cemetery’s grass. “They’re really concerned about (the cemetery) being looked after,” said Black, adding that trustees are equally concerned that the transfer process is completed correctly, and they’re willing to take whatever time and steps are necessary to ensure that. “We want to make sure no one can go back (on the transfer).”

Black said the association basically had responsibility for the section of the cemetery “inside the driveways,” where there are still some vacant plots. The association is technically not responsible for the grounds immediately surrounding the old Baptist church near the Canyon and Beaver Run roads intersection. The church is boarded up and in extremely poor condition. “No one will own up to owning the church,” said Black.

Greene said previously that she believes the Baptist Association held the deed to the old church; however, American Baptist Churches of Ohio representatives have said their organization no longer has responsibility for the church, leaving the trustees at a loss as to what to do with it.

“We can’t take responsibility for it at this point in time,” said Black, although he said that the grounds around the church would be maintained somehow.

In other township news:

• Trustees unanimously approved a rezoning of a three-acre parcel on Refugee Road from agriculture to R-3. Greene said there is a house on the three-acre lot, which the owners wanted to split from a larger agriculture plot so the house could be sold on its own. “The house is already there,” she said.

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