Feb 8, 2024 - News

Des Moines might sell part of a cemetery

A photo of the Des Moines Masonic Cemetery.

A portion of Des Moines Masonic Cemetery near 48th Street and Franklin Avenue could be sold later this month. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

An unused five-acre portion of the Des Moines Masonic Cemetery could be sold to make way for a new ChildServe center.

State of play: DSM agreed to take ownership of the 40-acre cemetery last year after Masonic members encountered financial difficulties in maintaining its grounds and structures.

  • The roads are in "dire need" of repairs, Parks and Recreation director Ben Page tells Axios.

Meanwhile, ChildServe — a Johnston-based group that assists children with special healthcare needs — wants to relocate and expand its DSM center currently located in Woodland Heights.

  • The nonprofit last year announced a $10 million capital campaign for the project.

What's happening: City Council will consider selling the five-acre plot to ChildServe for $600,000 on Feb. 19. Proceeds would help pay for improvements for the remaining portions of the cemetery.

  • Building designs and a timeline for the 20,000-square-foot facility haven't yet been established, ChildServe spokesperson Jordan Juhl Marcón tells Axios.

⚰️ The intrigue: The city is not concerned about running out of cemetery space because more people are now choosing cremation over traditional burials, Page says.


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