South Bend Common Council OK's crematorium propos - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

South Bend Common Council OK's crematorium proposal

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A showdown over a proposed crematorium in South Bend.

A neighborhood says "no" to a potential tenant, but the council gave the green light at its meeting Monday.

Folks who live in the area where the proposed crematorium will go on Franklin Street had several concerns they brought before the council.

They say they're worried property values will go down with a crematorium in such close proximity.

They're also concerned there will be a smell in the neighborhood or an emission's problem.

Neighbors are also worried they might see bodies being transported from funeral homes.

They say they don't want to have to explain that to their young children.

"I mean it's burning dead people. You're not distributing windows or siding. It's people's backyards. You want to go to your family's cookout on Saturday and they're burning a body in this building. Do you want to eat the food that was coming off that grill?" says Terry Frost who lives near where the crematorium will be built.

The funeral director of Zahoran Funeral Home, Patrick Nowak, addressed those concerns at the meeting saying neighbors wouldn't smell anything.

Nowak also said a privacy fence and closing garage doors would prevent anyone from seeing bodies. He also addressed the issue of property value.

"We also checked with realtors and appraisers as far as concerns with property values. They all came back with the same answer to us. They couldn't pinpoint that a crematory in somebody's backyard or somebody's vicinity would directly increase/decrease property values in any particular way.," says Nowak.

Nowak says more and more people are choosing cremation over burial and that's why there's a need for a new crematorium. He says they plan to perform about 150 cremations a year at the new crematorium.

This wouldn't be the only crematorium in a South Bend neighborhood.

One of them is on Ironwood near Jefferson.

The other, is on William near Marion, which is just to the west of Memorial Hospital.

FOX28 spoke with some neighbors there who all said they don't even notice the crematorium is there.

"It hasn't bothered me. The smell, and I live about a block away," says Kimberly Hesiben.

Ronald Hesiben says, "We gave never had any problem with it. That's as far as I'm concerned."

The crematorium is expected to open in mid to late November.

Common Councilman, Oliver Davis covers the district where the crematorium will be.

He was part of a meeting Nowak had with neighbors last week.

He said he appreciated the funeral director's willingness to meet with neighbors and didn't feel the reason homeowners gave for not wanting the crematorium, "We just don't want it here," was enough not to support it.

 

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