FARMINGTON -- City officials are renewing their efforts to find new cemetery space.
The city is running out of cemetery lots, and options for a new burial ground are getting harder to find. City leaders have discussed the pending problem for several years and are renewing that effort.
City Manager Dave Millheim said he has asked Neil Miller, parks and recreation director, to look at potential options for expanding the existing cemetery, as well as other possibilities.
Millheim recently shared the information with members of the city council, because he knows how sensitive the cemetery land issue is and said he doesn't want the issue to be done in a vacuum.
One immediate option Miller has been asked to address is the expansion of the existing cemetery to the east in an area where a city park and tennis courts are located.
Millheim is aware of how unpopular that option can be.
Even though the issue is still in the discussion stage, Councilman Sid Young weighed in on the merits of expanding the existing cemetery to the east.
Young said he understands the need for more cemetery space, but he suggested expanding the existing burial ground eastward would only be temporary and would come with a great loss.
Expanding the existing cemetery eastward would take out a recreational area in the city that is heavily used, he said.
"I'd hate to see it go away. It would be a betrayal of public trust, almost," Young said of losing the park and tennis courts.
Millheim said he understands and that he is not asking city leaders to approve that plan now, only to look at it as one option.
He hopes to outline several scenarios for leaders to consider in the future. He even raised the question of whether the city should be in the cemetery business.
Max Forbush pursued a number of new land options in his final two years as city manager. He asked council members to consider a plan to excavate a piece of city hillside property south of Farmington Canyon in an attempt to see if the area might be suitable for a cemetery or a small development.
He also identified one spot for a possible burial ground, but said the owner had little inclination to sell the property.
He also suggested it would be difficult to consider putting a burial ground on the west side of Interstate 15, given problems with the water table in that area.