A meeting between a local historian group and township trustees was held Wednesday evening in Shelby County to discuss a pioneer cemetery. The Grove Township Trustees and the Western Iowa Pioneer Cemetery Association or WIPCA held a group session at the Fire Hall in Earling with Shelby County Supervisor Steve Kenkel as the moderator. The meeting was to gather the two groups together in order to find a solution to the Doyle Pioneer Cemetery in rural Shelby County.
WIPCA has been working on cleaning up rural cemeteries throughout Shelby and Harrison County with the Doyle being one of them. However, the pioneer cemetery does not have a road to it so the association is only able to get to the cemetery when crops are not planted in the fields surrounding the cemetery. The first item on the agenda was the maintenance schedule for the cemetery. Kenkel said the trustees’ budget was set for this year but there is money to be had in order to keep up the maintenance at the Doyle. Trustee Mike Tremel agreed.
“When I came into this thing, there was no money to be spent. My son and I use to mow those two north cemeteries and they knocked us down from three mowing to two a year five to ten years ago. We were thinking there was no money to be had but now that we know there is money, we will mow it more often.”
The discussion then moved on to the boundaries of the cemetery and where the fence will be placed. The trustees are currently working with the landowners on where the outlining area is for the cemetery. The biggest topic was in regards to gaining access to the pioneer cemetery during the whole year as oppose to twice a year as it is now. Kenkel then laid the ground work on options for an access lane to the cemetery. The first was leasing a portion of land from the landowners but he said the landowners were not interested. “The main two reasons they are not interested in that is: one liability and two, they don’t think it’s a long term solution. And that’s really our goal here.”
The supervisor also stated he had talked with the landowners about purchasing land and one would be interested in selling a half an acre for a lane from Highway 37 into the Doyle Cemetery. During the meeting, Kenkel walked the group through what it would take in order for the lane to be established. In the report, the total cost would be between $20-30,000 for the half acre, new fencing, creating an approach off the highway, new gates at the cemetery and installing a drop tube culvert and berm over the washout area. Kenkel said this plan would be something WIPCA could discuss and possibly implement in the fall.
“And we are going to be looking at this fall to a year from now as a timeframe when this could maybe get done and implemented. So it gives us some time to work on this, if that’s what you (WIPCA) want to look at.” As a 501© (3) organization, WIPCA would have the opportunity to apply for and receive grant funding from organizations such as Shelby County Community Foundation and the Iowa West Foundation. WIPCA members said at the end of the meeting they will take the information provided and discuss amongst themselves as to what their next step. More information regarding the Doyle Cemetery will be released at a later date.