Rose Hill Cemetery to offer urn inurnment with columbarium

Cemetery, sanitation among items approved by Ardmore commissioners on Monday

ARDMORE – Space for the cremated remains of up to 48 people at a city cemetery was given final approval by the Ardmore City Commission on Monday. Parks and Recreation Department Director Teresa Ervin told commissioners that the efforts to install the wall at Rose Hill Cemetery are the first in what’s expected to be a slow rollout of the latest option to inurn the remains of area residents.

“We’re starting out with one, just to see,” Ervin told commissioners, according to a recording of Monday’s regular commission meeting provided by the city. “Cremations have increased drastically across the nation, and so we feel like this is where we’re going but we’re going to go slowly.”

According to the trade industry Cremation Association of North America, the percentage of cremations in the US has increased steadily since at least 2006, when about 34% of remains were cremated. By 2021, more than 57% of US remains were cremated and the group expects the rate to climb to 64% by 2025.

The National Funeral Directors Association released a trade report in 2021 with similar findings, showing 57.5% of Americans preferring cremation compared to only 36.6% choosing a traditional burial.

The planned columbarium will have 24 niches each designed to hold two urns. Commissioners approved the lone valid bid from Memorial Art Company after Ervin said two other bids did not meet specifications. The city had budgeted $40,000 for the project and the city’s cemetery board has been handling placement of the wall since at least late last year.

Included in the $36,000 project will be a concrete pad installed at the cemetery that will be larger than necessary for one columbarium. Ervin told commissioners that is for planned expansion as more walls are installed in the future. The area could also evolve into a garden area with benches.

In other business, commissioners approved several motions resulting in fleet upgrades for residential sanitation and Operation Pride. Over $491,000 will be spent on four vehicles, including a trash compactor body and a knuckleboom trash loader. At least two current vehicles will be traded in and were included in the final price.

City Utilities Director Shaun Geurin said that the vehicles won’t be immediately available, with at least one needing about a year for ordering and manufacturing.

In other business, the Ardmore City Commission:

  • Appointed J.D. Spohn as the city’s representative on the Big Five Community Services Board of Directors for a three-year term;
  • declared Information Technology Department sound equipment and computers as surplus;
  • declared an Ardmore Police Department 2021 Dodge Charger as surplus to be released to the insurance company;
  • approved unit priced bids received from various vendors for supplies and materials used for street construction, maintenance and repair;
  • approved a contract with Raymond Kuhlman for the operation and management of the Mountain Lake Camping Area for $24,000 per year;
  • approved a right-of-way agreement with Dobson Technologies;
  • approved a contract with Valero Refinery to provide traffic control during events through May for $60 per officer and vehicle;
  • approved the final purchase price for the Ardmore Police Department trade-in agreement, which was $89.30 higher than originally expected.
Ardmore City Hall
Ardmore City Hall on April 28, 2022 (File / Carter Observer)