Crowding cemetery causing concern

Monday, January 31st 2005, 6:10 am
By: News On 6

RINGLING, Okla. (AP) Families of those buried in Ringling Memorial Cemetery are upset that open areas are being turned into grave sites and crowding the cemetery.

The cemetery used to be roomier until city officials, running out of burial space, turned grass ``alleys'' between sections of graves into plots, Larry Paul said.

``Ringling is one of the few cemeteries that had alleys,'' said Paul, 56, of Mesquite, Texas, whose wife and other relatives are buried at the cemetery.

Paul's mother, Evelyn Paul, 79, of Ringling, said her family discovered that the alley burial policy and other issues were problems after a relative was buried last year next to the grave of her daughter, Donna Wade.

The relative's grave ended up 6 inches from her daughter's grave, partially in a grass ``sidewalk'' area beside the plot.

``They put another person's grave too close to my daughter,'' she said. ``She was put in the walkway right there by the plot.''

City Clerk Linda Coley said it has been 10 years since the city, which took over management of the cemetery from the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, converted alley areas to burial plots and sold them.

``We were getting to the point where we did not have enough space,'' she said.