Fairview mausoleum, repairs to become city's responsibility

Vicky O. Misa
The Shawnee News-Star
Shawnee city commissioners just before the start of their April 5, 2021, meeting.

Shawnee city commissioners on Monday voted to accept responsibility and maintenance of Fairview Mausoleum, which is located in city-owned Fairview Cemetery, at 1400 N. Center.

Fairview Mausoleum Association was the owner of the structure, but the entity had plans to dissolve, due to lack of funds.

In a letter written years ago to the City of Shawnee's then-Director of Operations James Bryce, the association expressed its desire to donate the building and trust, worth $30,000, to the city.

“It is the intention of Fairview Mausoleum Association Inc. to donate its assets including building, trust fund and records to the City of Shawnee as soon as possible with a preferred transfer date before May, 27, 2013,” the letter reads. “Upon completion of the transfer, the corporation will dissolve.”

Efforts over the years to find a buyer for the mausoleum proved difficult for the company.

“The biggest difficulty to selling Fairview Mausoleum was the fact that it was not part of Fairview Cemetery; and therefore, not part of a larger, multifaceted enterprise,” the letter by Paul Tiemann, for Fairview Mausoleum Association, Inc., reads.

In the past several years the mausoleum has seen little to no maintenance or repairs.

Since 2003 crypt sales have not been enough to cover care and maintenance costs, Tiemann said.

“The business checking account has decreased to the point that even the electric bill cannot be paid,” he said in the years-old letter.

Since the City of Shawnee did not own the mausoleum, it was unable to make any effort toward upkeep or repairs.

So the building has been stuck in a state of neglect for some time.

On Monday, Shawnee Public Works Director Brad Schmidt said in order to get the 2,500 square-foot building structurally sound, a lot of money will have to be spent.

“Right now, maybe $600,000 for a complete total project,” he said. “I (am) working on updating quotes staff had acquired in 2015.”

Foundation repairs, roofing, tiles, doors, windows, cabinets, flooring and electrical wiring are among some of the items needing attention.

Fortunately, only about 30 percent of the crypts have been sold and the rest could potentially become a source of revenue for the city, Shawnee City Manager Chance Allison said.

The structure is built to hold roughly 500 crypts, Schmidt said.

As of now, the board has not made any decisions on what do to with the mausoleum, how much to spend or what avenue to take regarding care.

Allison said the first order of business was to accept the asset and then a plan can be formulated later.

For story ideas, questions or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at vicky.misa@news-star.com.