Cemetery's Frequently Asked Questions
City of Colorado Springs Cemeteries
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Question: What are appropriate and allowed decorations at a grave site?
Answer: Of all of the issues we face at the cemeteries no other topic causes as much emotion and misunderstanding. Hopefully this issue of the Inscriptum will clarify our position and help cemetery patrons and visitors understand what we do and do not allow.
The City Cemeteries were audited by the City's Safety Committee and their report is mandating that we not only comply with the many Rules and Regulations the cemeteries have established for decorations but to also remove all safety hazards around stones. This is a giant job. I will be the first to recognize that historically the cemeteries have been extremely lax in enforcement of regulations. This attitude of acceptance to violators in the past has placed us in a very difficult position. Our staff has always been reluctant to remove items that are not allowed because of the grief they encounter when the families return and find stuff removed. Frequently, the interactions we incur are in many situations borderline abusive.
The staff at Evergreen and Fairview are the stewards of the cemeteries. Part of that stewardship means we are responsible for the care of the cemeteries and trying to maintain a safe environment for families, visitors and staff. We hope people realize that an innocent appearing memento or sentimental figurine placed at a grave as a gesture of honoring a life past has the potential to cause injury. We ask that people take a little different attitude towards their decorations placed at grave, in other words, remember not only the person buried there but also the people that take care of that site.
Things to keep in mind:
- Adornments that create a safety hazard or maintenance problem are prohibited from being placed anywhere on a grave.
- Annual flowers are the only plantings allowed on a grave site; they may be planted six inches east of the monument. No other items may be planted on a grave site, including trellises, trees, bushes, roses, shrubs or spreading plants.
- Artificial flowers will be permitted in City Cemeteries only when placed in urns or other containers made of some durable material; excluding glass, pottery or other such fragile material which are permanently attached to the foundation base or marker. These urns or containers shall be placed and located so that they will not interfere with or hinder the mowing operations or other care required.
- Items that are not acceptable left at a grave include; baskets, boxes, shells, toys, crockery, glassware, potted plants, cans, figurines, wood crosses and anything else wood, rocks, borders made of brick, metal, cement or any other material that could get caught in the mowers.
Sounds pretty restrictive? Your physical presence here is the most important thing to bring to the cemetery, not a sentimental memento that can be lost, stolen, broken or worse yet get tangled up into maintenance equipment.
Stop in some time and discuss with staff what you can do at the grave site, maybe even a trip out to the site with us can be most helpful. We are liable as a City entity in today's litigious world for not enforcing known rules. The City Cemeteries are owned and operated by the City but not taxpayer supported. The down side to this is that the Cemeteries are self insured and would incur any lawsuit costs or settlements, not the City of Colorado Springs. One good lawsuit could potentially destroy the financial status and endanger the operations of our cemeteries. I'm not willing to place our Cemeteries in this kind of situation, are you?