Oct 14, 2022 - News

Des Moines withdraws plan to remove historic cemetery roads

A cemetery road.

This road will get rebuilt under a city of Des Moines plan that goes before the City Council Oct. 24. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

A proposal to remove multiple roads within Woodland Cemetery has been withdrawn from a larger renovation plan, Devin Perry, a city spokesperson tells Axios.

Catch up fast: Woodland is a historic cemetery, planned prior to DSM's 1851 incorporation.

  • Its 65 acres includes the graves of people like former Gov. Samuel Merrill and suffragist Annie Nowlin Savery.
  • It also has a children's monument, where dozens of unidentified orphaned children from past centuries were buried in crate-like caskets on top of each other.

Driving the news: Eight road removals were proposed in earlier plans to restore some of the cemetery's infrastructure with the goal of opening up more green space.

Yes, but: The DSM Landmark Review Board recommended last month that a certificate of appropriateness be granted for removal of just one road section — and only after further historic review.

  • A revised recommendation from city staff to the city council now excludes road removal.

What's next: A public hearing about the renovations is Oct. 24.

  • Timelines and estimated costs of the projects are still being determined.

🎥 1 interesting thing to go: The Women of Woodland Cemetery


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