Next Question: Is Denver running out of cemetery space?

Next with Kyle Clark. 9NEWS @ 6. 10/6/2016

Staring out across Fort Logan National Cemetery, the vision of fallen heroes seems to go on for miles. About 110,000 people are buried here. With an estimated 4,000 interred every year, you can understand why they're worried about room.

Fort Logan sent out a news release this week to announce that 9,000 cremation sites will be added, as well as 2,500 burial plots.

“We’re down to maybe a thousand cremation sites right now. So this is going to be done just in time,” Joseph Turnbach said. “It’s breaking ground just in time.”

They figure it'll be done right as those additional plots are finally needed, by the middle of next year, and it will give the cemetery enough capacity to last through the mid-2020s.

“It’s land that we already own. It’s been kind of in the works for several years and finally we’re getting started on it.”

That release peaked our interest here at Next. It's a bit of a morbid question, but we wondered if our growing city will ever run out of property to bury those who came before us?

Our city is growing after all, and property is quickly getting gobbled up.

But Mortuary Science Professor Martha Thayer says there is no shortage of space in our cemeteries.

“Riverside Cemetery, it was founded in 1876. It’s 140 years old. It has over 2,000 burial spaces in Lot 36 alone. So a cemetery that’s 146 years old in Denver still has space.”

Thayer says more people are choosing to be cremated as well, which means much less space is needed.
“You can have a columbarium that can house a hundred to a thousand.”

And if you think cemeteries take up a lot of space, Thayer put it in a little perspective…

“If you put every single cemetery in the United States together, you wouldn’t even fill up the state of Rhode Island.”

Fort Logan is negotiating with the state right now over state-owned land near the cemetery. The hope is to expand there after 2020.

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Copyright 2016 KUSA


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