Controversy over historic Racine cemetery
RACINE -- Some residents in Racine are upset over a deal that sold potentially historic land in the Mound Cemetery.
Despite the Cemetery Commission denying the motion, the city council voted to approve selling the land to a local family for 16 burial plots.
The land is believed by some to be a possible Native American burial site, but according to Racine Mayor John Dickert the site was never officially ruled a burial site by the Wisconsin Historical Society.
There are other similar sites in the cemetery that have been ruled official burial sites.
In order to determine its historical nature, the family buying the plots is paying to test the land.
If the land is a burial site, it will be left alone and the family will walk away.
According to the cemetery supervisor an archaeological dig will be done by taking taking core samples.
This will likely disrupt the land regardless of any artifacts.
Another issue the amount the land was sold for.
The city sold the land for $16,000, but the cemetery valued the land at $300,000.
The $300,000 figure is based on building a crypt/cremation building on the small plot.
Mayor Dickert told CBS 58 that the Cemetery Department is $40,000 in debt and the sale helped bring that amount down.
He added the $300,000 is over estimated.
Dickert said the cemetery is having trouble selling the plots and crypts they already have, so adding more space wouldn't help.
The Cemetery Supervisor, Steve Bedard, said he's trying to get a fair shake for all Racine residents with the plot and not just one family.