A highly visible landmark on Manchester’s north end is set to undergo restoration work after the Manchester City Council agreed to chip in for repair costs.
Manchester Cemetery Board President Dennis Meisgeier told the council the mausoleum at the Oakland Cemetery is in need of structural repairs to keep the building safe and in good appearance.
“The white mausoleum graces the front entrance to the Oakland Cemetery and is one of the main features people traveling from the north see when entering Manchester,” Meisgeier wrote. “The community has great pride in how Oakland and St. Mary’s cemeteries are a great asset to the community.”
An inspection conducted by Jim Wessels determined the structure had multiple issues with mortar joints and many of the head joints in the stone sills had no mortar in them at all. Additionally, the cast ledge stones have larges chunks of materials missing on both the east and west walls.
Wessels said these joints will need to be ground to a uniform depth and re-tuckpointed and cast ledges will need to be cleaned and formed to match existing contours.
In all, Wessels quoted the cost of the job at $2,100.
City Manager Tim Vick said staff was approached by the cemetery board regarding the city’s commercial incentive program, but due to their non-profit status, they really didn’t fit under the guidelines laid out in the commercial incentive program.
However, Vick said given that few are in favor of an unmaintained cemetery, the council could offer some assistance from the city’s franchise fee fund.
Ultimately, the council unanimously elected to reimburse the cemetery board up to one-third of the cost, $699.93, using a formula that is parallel to the existing façade grant program.
When asked if the council wanted to adjust that figure, Councilmember Mary Ann Poynor said she wanted to stick to the one-third formula because there is already precedence in doing so.
Mayor Milt Kramer said throughout his tenure in public office, he has been approached several times about the city purchasing the cemetery, but that’s an endeavor the City of Manchester has so far successfully avoided.
“In the years that I’ve been around, I’ve discovered there are two things cities don’t own — a cemetery and a golf course,” Kramer quipped.