Shannon Cemetery issue close to being put to rest

By Craig Kelly -

BLUFFTON — It has been at times a contentious, back-and-forth affair deciding how to best memorialize the old Shannon Cemetery in Bluffton. On Monday, signs of consensus seemed to return at the Bluffton Village Council meeting.

During Monday’s meeting, the council held a second reading on a resolution to settle the matter of the derelict cemetery, which advocates say is the burial location for the village’s founders and even Revolutionary War veterans. Original plans to remove the stones and create a memorial park at the site were met with heavy resistance, leading to the creation of the Shannon Cemetery Commission to put the matter to rest.

After tabling a recommendation from the commission to return gravestones to their proper position, thanks to information gained through ground penetrating radar, the council had tabled the recommendation. In April, a first reading for the resolution included no mention of returning the gravestones, causing concern from those invested in the cemetery’s preservation.

On Monday, however, village solicitor Steve Chamberlain went through the language of the resolution, making changes that more accurately reflected the wishes of the commission, including repositioning the gravestones after being cleaned, ensuring that no structures would be built over known grave sites and creating a memorial stone with all the names of those known to be buried there engraved on it. Efforts would also be made to make the cemetery an Ohio Historical Site.

“He redid the whole thing using the commission’s recommendations and rewrote them, as he said, according to law,” Ray Mumma of Friends of Shannon Cemetery said. “We’re pretty much happy with what he did. We have some questions on a few things, but they are pretty minimal.”

A special council meeting concerning the cemetery will take place at 7 p.m. June 2 at Bluffton Village Hall. The resolution must pass a third reading to be enacted.

By Craig Kelly

Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.

Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.

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