City to Manage Lenexa Cemetery

City to Manage Lenexa Cemetery
Posted on 06/22/2022
Lenexa Cemetery

Since 1872, the Lenexa Cemetery Association has cared for the tract of land southeast of 87th Street Parkway and Pflumm Road, commonly known as the Lenexa Cemetery. The Lenexa City Council approved a Memorandum of Understanding on June 21, 2022 to transfer property and assets of the Cemetery to the City at the end of this year. The Lenexa Cemetery sits adjacent to the St. John's Catholic Cemetery, which is located immediately south of the site.

The Lenexa Cemetery Association’s Board of Directors approached the City about taking over the operation of the 4.34 acre site. The non-profit association has an aging membership and raised concerns about their ability to sustain ongoing cemetery operations. “We are grateful for the countless hours the Lenexa Cemetery Association’s volunteers have devoted to operate the cemetery,” said Assistant City Manager Mike Nolan. “The City is grateful that the Board had the foresight to turn over operations in a thoughtful and planned manner.”

The Lenexa Cemetery Association Board voted unanimously to pursue dissolution and transfer of property and assets to the City at their March 2022 meeting.

In Kansas, cemeteries are extensively regulated by statute to assure they are permanently managed and maintained. Pursuant to state law, should a private or non-profit cemetery dissolve or otherwise become abandoned, the management and maintenance of the cemetery defaults to municipal responsibility. Cities are granted broad authority to acquire, manage and fund cemeteries. This authority includes the ability to enact rules and regulations, sell plots, make improvements, and levy taxes, as well as most other powers necessary to care for and maintain a cemetery.

The Memorandum of Understanding signed on June 21, 2022, outlines the proposed process, duties, responsibilities, due diligence, and other general terms related to the conveyance of real property, records, documents, and financial assets from the Association to the City.

In the coming months, City staff will work with the Association on steps necessary to complete the transition which is expected to take place December 30, 2022. This work will include notification to those who own cemetery plots about the coming changes, a property survey, writing and adopting codes and policies to operate the cemetery, setting fees and budget, and transferring Lenexa Cemetery Association assets to the City. Beginning in 2023, Lenexa Parks & Recreation will manage cemetery operations.

If you have questions, please contact Assistant City Manager Mike Nolan, [email protected] or 913-477-7707.

Published June 22, 2022