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We bought a Rainbow Bridge

Posted by franknjim (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 26, 10 at 10:14

Recently there has been a local issue over a 50 year old Pet Cemetery here in Peoria Illinois. The previous owners let the taxes fall behind and the County took possession of the property. It went up for public auction and the newspaper article about it had interviews with a few elderly people who had pets buried there. They were all worried that someone would buy the property and tear out the cemetery to build on it. I dont like to see people worry about things, especially at their ages. So my partner and I called about purchasing it since it did not sell at the auction. One person had made contact about it before we did and they were sent the contract and had two weeks to sign it and send in their payment of $645.00. We were in line after them. They did not follow through so we were mailed a contract, received it a few days ago, have signed it and sent it back with our payment.

The paperwork for Pet Haven has been lost so the chances of ever being able to bury anymore pets is pretty slim since we do not know how full it is or who is where. My main objective in buying this is to protect it and give piece of mind to all that have their pets there. It is just under an acre in size with a small creek that runs through it dividing it. 2/3 is the cemetery and 1/3 looks like it has been used for many years as a soil fill dump site that is overgrown with tress that goes across the front of the property. You have to walk across a small bridge over the creek to get to the cemetery. We plan on restoring the cemetery by cleaning it up and resetting the sunken headstones. I will take from my garden to add to it.

This will cost us considerably down the road to maintain it, pay liability insurance for it and pay the property taxes on it but I think it is worth it for what we are giving to the community. Now I have to buy a riding lawn mower & trailer for it to cut the grass. I hate cutting grass! I have been removing all of the grass from our house so I wouldnt have to mow it and putting in all flowerbeds. We will be losing 2 of our 6 dogs to old age this year that will be rough on me. My partner is a manager at one of the most respected cemeteries here so I hear all about it and peoples losses, which does bug me. So I take all of the things that I do not like and buy something that entails all of them just to do something good for others.

We are just now in the starting phases of this and coming up with all of the ways in which we need to do things for Pet Haven. We are also receiving much great advice from many people from all over the country through multiple forums and groups that we belong to. We will be contacting previous owners and managers of the cemetery to try and locate any remaining records for the place. We are also planning to have the lot surveyed and mapped out to show all existing graves that have headstones and all of the old plot markers of which there are many. Whoever originally designed and installed the cemetery knew what they were doing as everything is in perfect rows and there are more plot markers than are actually needed. After finding any remaining records and having a survey done we are hoping to find someone to come in with ground penetrating radar to locate unmarked graves. Utility companies and Archaeological Research companies use these tools.

We have an appointment for tomorrow to meet with a newsprint reporter who did the previous story about Pet Haven. We had been in contact with her not only about Pet Haven but also about another pet related issue concerning changing the rules with the US Department of Transportation concerning airlines in regards to the transportation of pets to hold the airlines more accountable for the death of pets. We have three US Senators working with us on that along with many others.

At the request of people that are interested in our journey of what we are doing for Pet Haven I have set up a Facebook account for it. The username is "PetHaven Cemetery". I posted a bunch of photos of Pet Haven there.

Below is a link to the newspaper story I read that brought my attention to what was going on with Pet Haven. The first photo is of the bridge over a small creek that leads into Pet Haven.

Frank

Here is a link that might be useful: Peoria pet cemetery unbid upon


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: We bought a Rainbow Bridge

hi frank,
i'll be following this endeavor with great interest. might just call for a road trip to peoria to get my hands dirty!

nina ;)


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RE: We bought a Rainbow Bridge

I hope hope you reach all your dreams and wishes for this beautiful place. It needs to be protected. Also, thank you for your work with the airlines' pet transportation.


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RE: We bought a Rainbow Bridge

I just made up a simple webpage with links to the letters I wrote to Delta Airlines and their lawyer after our very bad incident as well as a link to the PDF file letter written to the Secretary of Transportation from the Senate on our behalf as well as a link to a PDF file of the petition that has been filed with the DOT by The Animal Defense League.

We started this just this past winter after Delta Airlines did some pretty bad things to us.

Here is a link that might be useful: Links to my letters


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RE: We bought a Rainbow Bridge

Thank you for both ... I was sad to read all of what you posted about your puppy. What a bunch of lies and back-pedaling ...

Good luck witht he cemetary and will find you on Facebook to follow your progress.


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RE: We bought a Rainbow Bridge

I wish you both all the best for all you are doing for all the fur babies and their humans. Big hugs from NY..
Christine


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RE: We bought a Rainbow Bridge

What a great project! Lots of work I'm sure, but a wonderful thing for you and your partner to support. Thanks for sharing!


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RE: We bought a Rainbow Bridge

Congratulations on your new purchase. But the thing that amazes me, is your horrible incident with Delta. I can't imagine how awful the loss of the puppy was, but to have added all the lies and shabby treatment - I can't understand how people like this can live with themselves. How can people lie and cover up and not take responsibility for their actions? I am in awe of your commitment to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else. It is apparent that many companies today have no moral scruples. No wonder we have to legislate everything to death! Here in Ohio we have very little teeth in our laws concerning cruelty to animals. I wish you all the best in your quest to make Delta take responsibility for their actions and I look forward to following this through our Congress and I hope you are successful in getting the changes made. Good luck and again I am sorry for your loss.


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RE: We bought a Rainbow Bridge

The story just made todays local newspaper. Here is a link below to it.

Now all of the people that have been worried about their pets that are buried there no longer have to worry.

Here is a link that might be useful: Departed pets are in good hands


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RE: We bought a Rainbow Bridge

nice article...way to go, guys!! looking forward to visiting pet haven in a few weeks, frank. :)


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RE: We bought a Rainbow Bridge

Nice article. It's a really nice thing to do.


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RE: We bought a Rainbow Bridge

It has been suggested by many people that we should do a title search on the property so today I called my friend that is the County Clerk and explained the situation. The Recorder of Deeds happened to be sitting in his office so they told me what to do. I went to the court house and started with the old books that show everything starting in the late 1800's from the time the land was subdivided and it only had transfers of the deed. I then checked the computer which has everything since the late 1980's and the only two things that have been and still are on the property are two liens by the city for rubbish removal for $110.00 & $135.00. Both had been put on the property within the last two years after the husband passed away and the wife left the property uncared for. They then sent me to City Hall where I spoke to the legal department. Both ladies there were really nice and thanked me for what we are doing with the cemetery. The total owed to have the liens removed is just under $350.00 so that is no big deal. It could have been worse. A title search would have cost $500.00 to find out that $350.00 is owed. It only took me about an hour total to find everything out on my own. Everyone I have spoken to has been very helpful.

The property has never been issued an address so I called zoning and they transfered me to public works. They are going to go check out the property and then will email me an address for the place. Our insurance guy needs to have it for the liability insurance. I will be glad when all of the legal stuff is finished and I can get busy giving the place a much overdue grooming.

A local man contacted us yesterday after reading the story in the paper and offered to donate a bunch of hostas and daylillies. He is not an animal lover but he likes what we are doing for others.


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RE: We bought a Rainbow Bridge

An update of the goings on with Pet Haven.

We ordered the riding mower from Sears once they went on sale. It gets delivered on the 18th along with a garden cart and mulching kit for it. We bought a trailer to haul the mower from Harbor Freight tools that I have assembled and reinforced so it will last much longer. This week I planted the hundreds of tulips at the entrance to the cemetery.

The trailer with pics of the mower and cart inset.

The area I planted the tulips.

After I dug the hole shaped like a rainbow.

Me leaning on the shovel while digging the hole.

Tulip bulbs in the hole. They will be in continuous bloom from early to late spring.

This area had long ago been a dumping ground for coal cinders. I built a screen using hardware cloth to sift out the cinders.

This shows the pile of cinders left from the sifting going around the inside of the rainbow.

We should be taking possession of the deed to the property within the next two weeks. The 90 days stated in the contract that we signed is quickly approaching.


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RE: We bought a Rainbow Bridge

well, frankles, duh me! not until you mentioned it did i see you dug in the shape of a rainbow. love it! that is going to be absolutely stunning. i feel a road trip coming on next spring, i have GOT to see that rainbow in bloom!


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RE: We bought a Rainbow Bridge

Yes, what a fun project. A lot of work, but clearly you are enjoying it. I can't wait to see pictures of the flowers in the spring! What a lovely thing to do.


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RE: We bought a Rainbow Bridge

This is one of the nicest things I have heard about in a long time. Thank you for doing this and making things right.


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RE: We bought a Rainbow Bridge

That is so cool Frank & Jim. Good for you.


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RE: We bought a Rainbow Bridge

What a tremendous undertaking, and what an impact you are making. The rainbow of tulips is going to be beautiful. Are you going to somehow make the actual bridge into a rainbow?


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RE: We bought a Rainbow Bridge

With all the crazy crap in this world....I just want to say thank-you for your kindness to do this undertaking. I just lost my yellow lab on Oct.11, 2010....he was a month shy of 14 years of age....and if I was in your area I would love to have had the opportunity to have his earthly body in your pet cemetary. Thanks so much for taking your money and resources to take on this endeavor for no monetary gain at all. I think that is such a great thing and reinforces my belief that there are good people in this world and I so appreciate your kindness. Thanks again.

Duane


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RE: We bought a Rainbow Bridge

We won't be able to bury any other pets in Pet Haven because the majority of the paperwork has been lost so we don't know who is burried where. There are many unmarked graves as well as many hundreds of graves with markers. We knew from the start that we wouldn't be able to sell any spaces there. We just want to protect it.

The deed to the property came in the mail today. It was marked as being exempt from sales tax for the transaction and also that we are not responsible for property taxes until 2011.

The mower, cart and mulching kit were delivered last night. The mower just barely fits on the trailer. There is less than an inch of clearance on each side of the cutting deck.





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Rainbow on the Rainbow Bridge

Jim was thinking about a rainbow on the bridge but I am not sure what. We do plan on having a wrought iron archway made for the entrance with the name Pet Haven on it in steel that will span between two of the four concrete pillars at the front. The name of the place isn't anywhere. Currently there is just the small painted wood sign that says pet cemetery.


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