The management of Oak Ridge Cemetery could be in the hands of a private company. Springfield aldermen are considering receiving bids to allow someone besides the city to provide upkeep and marketing of the property.
Springfield Budget Director Bill McCarty says a national company, StoneMor, approached the city with a proposal to take over the day-to-day operation of the cemetery, including marketing plots. McCarty says it is prudent to take a look at options.
“This is a possible solution so I guess we’ll hear out what this is. None of us is familiar with this type of arrangement. Our understanding is this happening more and more” McCarty says.
Mayor Mike Houston has visited two other cemetaries the company operates earlier this year but did not let aldermen know about the concept until last week during a city council executive session. Bruce Rushton, a reporter for the Illinois Times, has filed a lawsuit against the city, alleging Houston violated the Open Meetings Act. McCarty, however, says the executive session was called because the issue involves personnel, which are exempt from the act.
Currently, the city underwrites about $400,000 in costs to maintain Oak Ridge. The cemetery, of course, is the final resting place of President Lincoln and his family.