Deadwood approves $76K Mt. Moriah Cemetery improvement project

Revenue for 2020 at Mt. Moriah Cemetery was $108,000, which was $18,000 over budget. Cemetery Sexton Kevin Kuchenbecker estimates strong numbers for 2021, as well. Pioneer photo by Jaci Conrad Pearson

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DEADWOOD — The need for upkeep of one of Deadwood’s biggest treasures is ongoing and ever-present, as the city commission approved a $75,950 contract with MAC Construction Co., Inc. for the 2021 Mt. Moriah Cemetery Improvement Project.

Deadwood Historic Preservation Officer Kevin Kuchenbecker said preservation and maintenance of the historic cemeteries is truly an ongoing, never-ending project that includes repairing monuments, stonework, ironwork, retaining walls, erosion control issues, and other critical elements to as determined throughout the seasons.

“Mt. Moriah Cemetery is an important historic resource and attraction for Deadwood. The cemetery is a very popular tourist destination with visitors from all over the United States and around the world,” Kuchenbecker said. “Due to the elements over the years since the large renovation project, Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane’s gravesites, along with the public viewing areas, are in need of major maintenance issues and repairs along with some minor improvements.”

The city sent out a notice to bidders for the project, but only

one bid was received.

“I was disappointed that we didn’t have more bids,” said Deadwood Historic Preservation Officer Kevin Kuchenbecker. “MAC Construction is very familiar with that project. They were involved in the original rehabilitation in 2002-2004. It is staff’s recommendation that we move forward with this with the bid alternate … we did budget $59,000 in repairs for 2021. This is above that. But we also, at the time we set our budget, didn’t know where we’d be. We budgeted total income for the cemetery of $90,000. Last year, we brought in $108,000, and I see 2021 being a good year for us, so I think as the year goes through, adjust the budget accordingly. I’d like to do the entire project. This is the – up behind Wild Bill and Calamity Jane’s graves – we have loose stones on the walkway, so it is very important. We have some of the fencing that has been damaged that needs repaired. My recommendation is to move forward and as we go, we adjust the budget numbers.”

Commissioner Sharon Martinisko asked if the overage of $18,000 in 2020, combined with, hopefully, more this year, if he saw any problems with revenue.

“I see all the buses running again,” Kuchenbecker said.

Deadwood Public Buildings, Transportation, and Safety Supervisor Tom Kruzel said the area Kuchenbecker referred to for repairs as “a pretty big safety concern.”

“We had three falls up there last year that were not directly related to it, but could have contributed to it,” Kruzel said. “We have some loose stones, as he mentioned on the walkway and I want to make sure we get that repaired, from a liability standpoint.”

Kuchenbecker added that, although he does not want a change order, as the work progresses and other areas are discovered that may have been missed, unit pricing has been provided per square foot.

The project involves refinishing modern steel fencing, replacing mortar joints on flagstone paving, replacing mortar joints on the stone wall cap, replacing mortar and resetting stone walls, and the installation of a pipe rail and knuckle barrier.

The expenditure will be paid from the Enterprise Fund for Historic Cemeteries Repairs line item.

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