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Cemetery plans public safety and veteran’s memorial

Griffin Rogers
griffin@tahoedailytribune.com
A flag near a grave marker waves in the wind at Happy Homestead Cemetery on Monday.
Griffin Rogers / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

The Happy Homestead Cemetery District has come a long way since juniper bushes and weeds took over large portions of the property.

Over the last couple years, caretakers have used new flowers and landscaping techniques to create a more family-friendly atmosphere at the cemetery. Handcrafted benches and arbors are now strategically placed around the property, along with several other improvements aimed at adorning the 64-year-old graveyard.

“My idea was to make it look like a park that any family would want to go to,” said District Manager Mike Warren, a former custom cabinetmaker who helped build many of the upgrades himself.

Warren calls the changes a step in the right direction, but staff isn’t done making enhancements yet. For their next project, caretakers will construct an onsite veteran’s memorial and public safety wall — a $150,000 undertaking.

The memorial will be located next to the office — on the same property as the cemetery, on Johnson Boulevard in South Lake Tahoe — and is in the early design stage of development.

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“It’s going to be a really nice project when it’s done,” Warren said.

Although plans could change over the next several months, the idea for the memorial now is to build a 4- to 5-foot granite wall on both sides of the cemetery’s flagpole while another wall is constructed a few feet away at the end of a short pathway.

Official law enforcement and military seals would then be etched into the stone, along with some pictures and the names of the deceased, according to the plan.

Chuck Knowlton, a Happy Homestead Cemetery District trustee, said many veterans and public safety officials live within the district and that the project would be appreciated in the area.

“We believe the Memorial itself will be a welcome addition to the community as a whole,” he said in an email, “and we’d like to get as many people interested, and involved, as possible.”

The cemetery district is asking the community to help support veterans and public safety personnel by making a donation the project.

One way this could be done is to buy a “memory brick,” which is an engraved brick with the name and agency or military branch of anyone who has served in the U.S. Military or with a public safety organization.

The engraved bricks can be purchased for $100.

Warren said the idea for the project first came about in 2006 — before Warren worked for the district — but nothing came of the memorial until now.

“It’s going to be the biggest project we’ve ever done around here,” Warren said.

Permits for the project have been submitted to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency for review. For more information or questions on how to donate, the cemetery can be reached at 530-541-7070.


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