Gypsum cemetery running out of room |

Gypsum cemetery running out of room

Connie Steiert
Steven Sekelik/EnterpriseThe Gypsum Cemetery has cradled its dead for 100 years, but may soon have to say 'no room.'

GYPSUM – Lois Walker has been insisting for years that Gypsum should look to the future when it comes to burying its dead. Very few people have heeded her and the Cedar Hill Cemetery District’s advice, however. Now, it looks like the issue may soon force itself, as the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Gypsum nears capacity.

“If it doesn’t fill up each year any faster then it is right now, we probably have three or four years left, or maybe more,” Walker said. The 2 1/2 acres owned by the cemetery is surrounded by land into which it can’t expand because the parcels belong to the federal government, are already built on or owned by someone not interested in selling.”I think we have to look at other areas,” Town Manager Jeff Shroll said. “I think we want to work with (the cemetery board) and understand their needs more.”

Perhaps it’s the fact that the Cedar Hill Cemetery, which opened in 1893 or 1894, has been around for more than 100 years that has lulled Gypsum residents into the complacent belief that it will always be there.Walker said the three-person board of directors has had an empty seat since a member resigned several years ago, and the other member may retire. With that kind of disinterest, it’s a Herculean task to raise interest in obtaining additional land, Walker said.Walker also is worried all the new growth downvalley will cause the mortality rate to spike and her projected three or four years may dwindle rapidly. She’s surprised it hasn’t happened already, she said.

“We had thought, the last few years, it would fill up faster because of more population in our town,” Walker said. Ideal land for a cemetery has no steep hills, isn’t too distant from Cedar Hill and has access to waterlines for landscaping, Walker said. Gypsum town board members have said they will keep their eyes out for extra land. Board Member Pam Schultz suggested asking owners of new developments to contribute to a cemetery fund or donate land. “A developer might have some land or room they could carve out of their property,” she said.Vail, Colorado

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