MANTI—The Manti City Council has approved two sites in the city cemetery for the installation of columbaria and agreed to purchase the first columbarium structure.
The action came at a meeting last Wednesday, May 5 after Councilwoman Mary Wintch, who has taken the lead on the project, visited the cemetery with Corey Hatch, director of public works for Manti, and identified sites on the west side of the cemetery.
A columbarium is a structure for preserving cremated remains. Wintch has said an increasing number of families are opting for cremation rather than burial. Currently a family wishing to preserve remains must purchase a regular cemetery lot, even though the remains take up just a small square in the lot.
At the present rate of burials (about one per week), the Manti City Cemetery is projected to run out of space in 30-50 years. City officials have said developing a new cemetery could exceed the $4 million cost of the Manti Sports Park. So the city wants to slow down consumption of cemetery lots as much as possible.
The council agreed to a structure produced by a Minnesota manufacturer containing 48 niches and priced at $31,000. The city would put in foundations for two columbaria. Then, as shown on a slide projected at the council meeting, the city would create an oolite limestone border at the bottom and along the sides of the first columbarium, which could be expected to go in this year.
“I like the design. It’s pretty clean,” Mayor Chuck Bigelow said.
Oolite has a lot of historical significance in Sanpete County. It is found in a quarry on the same hill as the Manti Temple. The temple and many pioneer homes have oolite facades.
Wintch brought up the idea of a columbarium in January. The council discussed the concept, sites and structures at several meetings before approving the plan last week.
The city would recoup the costs of developing columbaria from sale of niches in the structure. Columbaria have been installed in at least three cemeteries in Salt Lake County, in the Provo City Cemetery and in two cemeteries in the St. George area.