A Racine funeral home operator will be able to purchase land in the historic Mound Cemetery for family graves, after initially being denied because it could be an American Indian burial site. Racine Mayor John Dickert broke a 7-7 tie from the city’s common council on the sale, on the condition that the funeral home pay for testing to make sure no Native American remains are present.
The move came despite the urging of Cemetery Board member Christine Reisdorf, who asked alderman to maintain the historic charter of the cemetery and respect Indian culture. “The council needs to do the right thing, and protect this space, and avoid the embarrassing publicity,” Reisdorf said.
Alderman Greg Helding questioned what would be wrong with selling the available grave space, if a site inspection shows it’s not an Indian burial mound. “They want to buy a group of graves,” he said. “Sometimes I’m amazed at our ability to not take ‘yes’ for answer.
Cemetery Director Steve Bedard claimed the current green space is quite valuable as potential burial space. “If this is not an Native American burial site, then it’s premiere land, and we should try to get the best return for our investment.”
The request was initially denied by Racine’s Board of Cemetery Commissioners. The decision was reversed by the Board of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services, which the Common Council then upheld.
Tom Karkow, WRJN