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Nicoya Digs a New Grave

By Oliver Pérez
Photos by Samatha PoLlock

The days are numbered for Nicoya's old dilapidated cemetery. The committee formed to purchase property for the replacement cemetery is well on its way to closing a deal.

The Pro-Cemetery Committee has established a line of credit with Banco Popular for 350 million colones ($700 000). Before placing a lock on the 100-year old cemetery gate a technical closing must be completed. The Municipalidad will do this once they receive the loaned funds.

Nicoya's Mayor, Marco Jiménez, explained "approximately 100 million colones ($200 000) will be used for the technical closing. This closing includes the construction of a surrounding wall in addition to some landscape beautifications.

The local government is hopeful that this year they will be able to fulfill all necessary paperwork in order to retire the current cemetery, has been falling into rapid disrepair for the last two decades.



A Long Road Ahead
In 2004 the Town Council of Nicoya (Concejo Municipal) budgeted ¢20 million colones ($40 000) to purchase new property, a sum that was readily available for such purpose. However, with the current, heightened property prices, this amount is insufficient. Seven years ago, 20 million colones might have been enough; this is not the case today.

In 2005 the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes (Transportation Ministry) donated a property but a study, later conducted, deemed the ground unfit.

Matilde Cerdas, Secretary for the Cemetery Committee, explained to VON that in the upcoming days they plan to visit the Contraloría General de la República in order for the cemetery project to be reactivated, since it has been dormant for such long time.

Cerdas explained that ever since the committee was formed, over four years ago, they took on the task of searching for a property. The committee found six spaces though only one fulfilled the strict requirements needed for the construction of a cemetary.

"When choosing this property, which is located in the western part of the city, no preferences or priorities were given, the other properties simply didn't qualify for various reasons, mostly related to land characteristics", added the Committee's Secretary.

The new cemetery, which will cover a three-hectare property, will be a green cemetery. This means that they will offer green or natural burials – bodies will be buried underground with gravestones marking the site. The cemetery will be enclosed with a 2-meter high wall. In addition, it will offer a chapel for wakes, parking spaces, restrooms and electricity.

According to Cerdas, all of Nicoya's engineers and architects will be consulted on the construction of the graveyard. The professionals will be given a chance to participate in a contest for the contract to design and construct the space.


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