Columbarium to be built in Dundee cemetery
By year's end, Dundee Township residents will have new alternatives to interment of cremated remains.
On their "to-do" list for 2017, township board members plan to have the first columbarium constructed in Dundee Township Cemetery East, in East Dundee. It will allow residents to purchase niches in an aboveground structure for cremated remains of loved ones.
No longer will survivors have only the option of buying an in-ground plot and headstone for the remains, said Robert Block, cemetery board secretary and township clerk.
The first structure could be followed by nine more on a two-acre landscaped area inside the township-owned cemetery.
Board members will seek construction bids for the first unit in March. It could cost as much as $58,000, he said. Other units will be constructed when demand calls for them, pushing the long-term price up to $1 million when the final one is in place.
The first unit will have types of interment sections: 96 individual niches in the outer portion for urns and remains and space in the inner section for 225 separate remains.
The individual niches will have room for markers, holding the people's names, dates of birth and dates of death. The inner section will have room for a list of names of the people interred.
"There already is an interest in this locally," Block said. "I've had people calling me to ask when it will be available."
His answer to them is by the end of the year, possibly by summer.
"This is a new concept in being buried in Dundee Township," said township supervisor Sue Harney. "More people are deciding to be cremated, and this will give them another option. Our plan is to create a garden-like setting that will give people a place to meditate when visiting the cemetery."
Columbarium burials are not new to Illinois. Batavia's River Hills Memorial Park Cemetery has one that has been open for years. Dundee Township Board members looked at that complex and others when doing their research for their last available cemetery.
They liked what they saw. Columbaria take up less ground space than individual plots, and they could cost survivors less money.
Niche prices have not been established, Block said. When bids arrive and budgets are made final, prices will be set.
"Instead of buying a plot and headstone and paying for a grave to be opened, people would pay for the niche and the marker in front of it," he said.
A columbarium would be offered in the 48-acre Route 25 cemetery and not in Dundee Township Cemetery West, along Route 31. It is smaller, older and is closed to burials.
"In the past, the only aboveground option for a burial was a mausoleum," Block said. "They were popular (from the 1800s to the 1950s). Fewer people are being interred in mausoleums. They are being cremated."
Columbaria have the same concept for cremated remains.
Even before Dundee Township's first structure is built, people can buy space in it when interment prices are set. Remains will be placed in the cemetery's existing mausoleum and moved to the columbarium when it is completed, the township clerk said.
For details on the project, call Block at (847) 428-8092.