Benson studying major expansion of city cemetery
Benson’s City Cemetery is running out of space. It owns plenty of land to the north of the cemetery, but as it moves in that direction it will be encroaching on the Northside Recreation Area ball fields.
It will also require moving the walking path between the rec area and the cemetery.
As the Benson City Council was considering an expansion of the cemetery by 400 to 500 plots at its July 1 meeting, the question was raised about whether or not that number should be doubled.
With an average of 50 burial plots purchased per year, it would only take 8 to 10 years before the 400 to 500 sites would be gone, requiring another study and another expansion. It would be cheaper in the long run to plan for the next 20 years rather than have to revisit the issue in just 8 to 10 years, it was agreed.
An unknown factor in planning for new gravesites is what the impact of the addition of a columbarium to the cemetery will have on grave plots needed.
Columbariums are decorative structures, generally made of granite that can house urns containing the ashes of loved ones. There are outdoor columbariums that can stand freely in the cemetery or be designed with gardens and sitting areas. There are columbariums designed for indoor settings. Some of these have glass covering the front of each shelf so that the urn can be viewed.
Last year, the city began looking at a columbarium as part of the coming expansion