BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The chairman of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission wants a city cemetery cleaned up before he’ll recommend an application to place on the National Register of Historic Places.
Chris Sorrentino, the chairman of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission told the group at meeting Monday night that he wanted an organized effort to spruce up the cemetery located in the 1400 block of Avenue H before he would support applying for the designation.
“I’d like to think we could clean that up a little bit before we try to register it on the national registry,” Sorrentino said
“I don’t know if we can something together this summer and make it a city wide kind of a fun event, but that cemetery has the builders of this city in it and it’s important that it be preserved.”
Sorrentino said the cemetery has stones that have been knocked over or fallen down and damaged and the fence is need of repair.
Commission member Andy Andrews challenged Sorrentino to get the designation so the city could go after some funding to help clean it up.
“That’s why you apply to be on the registry so you can get grants to help pay for that,” Andrews said.
City Manager David Varley said the city has plans to repair the fencing with has more than 100 iron panels on the sides and front along Avenue H.
“We have plans to refurbish the damaged panels and put those back together,” Varley said.
“The mayor has given us til Dec. 31 to get those repaired.”
Sorrentino said he’d didn’t know if it would take until the end of the summer or longer, but he didn’t want to put the property up to the application in it’s current condition.
In an unrelated issue, the commission is also talking about revisiting the city’s historic district listings and possibly looking at using the city council ward designations as historic district areas and then assigning a commission member to each district.