Lingering safety concerns keep Glenwood Cemetery closed
July 27, 2012
The Glenwood Cemetery will remain closed until at least Aug. 8, giving the group that oversees the cemetery another two weeks to address safety concerns that arose after a young boy was killed by a falling headstone.
Bruce Erickson, the president of the Glenwood Cemetery Association, said the group’s board plans to meet Aug. 8 to discuss ideas to ensure unstable headstones like the one that toppled onto the boy do not pose a threat.
The cemetery has been closed since the July 5 death of Carson Dean Cheney. He was 4 years old. A large headstone toppled on top of him and he later died at a hospital.
The reopening might be phased to provide earlier access for people with family members buried at the Glenwood Cemetery, Erickson said.
Erickson said the cemetery is considering options like:
"There’s no way of guaranteeing safety. It’s impossible. It’s to make sure people understand the place is historic" and request people be respectful while they are on the grounds, Erickson said.
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Erickson was not sure how many headstones would be found to be unstable. He said the cemetery is considering whether to hire an expert from a monument company to search for unstable headstones. That decision has not been made yet, though, he said.
He said he continues to field requests from people who want to be allowed inside during the closure. The requests have come from family members of people buried in the cemetery, photographers who want to shoot pictures inside and history buffs.
"I’m still receiving two calls a day for access in . . . Folks are anxious," Erickson said.
There are approximately 900 graves in the cemetery, which is located off Silver King Drive in Thaynes Canyon. The cemetery dates to 1885.
The boy’s death prompted City Hall officials to survey the Park City Cemetery on Kearns Boulevard for unstable headstones. The Park City Parks Department found approximately 12 headstones that are both tall and loosely attached. The headstones date to as early as the late 19th century.
Caution tape was put around those headstones the day after the accident at the Glenwood Cemetery. The ones deemed to pose the biggest risk were later laid on the ground. A headstone specialist visited the Park City Cemetery on Thursday and is expected to soon make safety recommendations. City Hall staffers intend to craft a strategy to reduce the danger of a falling headstone.