Mandan City Commission Forming Union Cemetery Task Force

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The freedom to place items like wind chimes, statues and benches at grave sites was a big reason Susan Beehler says she chose to bury her parents at Union Cemetery.

"It's different than cemeteries in Bismarck in that you can put things on your graves and you can mark your graves and you can mark them in different ways that memorialize how you chose," Beehler said.

But after receiving complaints from visitors and maintenance staff, a change in rules was proposed to no longer allow a number of items.

"To try to give the Union Cemetery staff a more effective means of maintaining the cemetery to the highest standards and the standards that everyone expects when they go up to the cemetery," said Jeff Wright, with Mandan Public Works.

The amendment came before city commissioners, where a number of residents spoke against it, saying placing items at the cemetery is a way of grieving.

"Our two infant sons are buried there one at the head of our grave and one at the foot of our grave, for almost 12 years we've visited the cemetery year round," said another Mandan resident.

Commissioners decided to create a task force to find the best solution.

"I'm wondering how we can all work together and maybe come up with a solution that might be a little bit different than what we put forward," said Mandan City Commissioner Sandra Tibke.

The task force will include residents and city staff. Residents have until the end of May to email commissioners to apply for a position.