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Bones? What bones?

Scott Seitz2 • Aug 31, 2014 at 6:07 PM

The Huron County commissioners voted Tuesday to move forward with the construction of the license bureau/title office.

The project has been delayed since Aug. 8 when excavators unearthed human remains at the Shady Lane Drive construction site.

Dan Frederick, local architect and project supervisor, was at the commissioners meeting Tuesday and offered the board options.

After some discussion, the commissioners decided to re-establish the south property line of the cemetery, have the area re-surveyed by the county engineer and then move the new license bureau/title office back 125 feet.

Commissioner Gary Bauer said the bones which were already discovered should be reinterred with a proper ceremony including a minister.

"Right back where we discovered them, respectfully," Commissioner Tom Dunlap added.

Late last week, Frederick brought in Nick Janney of Ground Penetrating Radar Systems (GPRS) to cover the property with radar to see if any more graves remained.

"Preliminary GPRS findings on-site indicate that the historical cemetery actually extends south beyond the existing visual and maintained cemetery limits a distance of approximately 100 feet into what has been used as farmland for many years," Frederick said in his field report.

"Describing this new boundary using on-site field conditions, the actual limits of the historical cemetery appear to be along the south edge of the currently-barricaded area where deep excavation has already occurred and gravesites were found," Frederick added.

"In other words, additional gravesites were found north and east of the barricaded area," he said. "No additional graves were confirmed south of the proposed northern edge of the new building as currently positioned in the field.

"However, it is understood by Huron County that graves from the 1800s are difficult to locate using GPR technology due (to) the lack of any permanent structures such as caskets or vaults and the advanced deterioration of human remains due to the length of time involved," Frederick said.

Bauer said it's important, once the new boundaries are in place, the map office is informed, "so 100 years from now" officials don't encounter the same problem.

By eventually moving the building back 125 feet, Frederick said the driveways will need to be extended, adding about $25,000 to the project. This cost of moving the utilties has yet to be calculated.

The commissioners asked Frederick to inform the contractors that work could begin again soon, possibly within a week or two.

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