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Officials: Construction won’t disrupt sanctity of burial grounds

Weston, Wisconsin (AP) 11-07

Hoping to allay concerns of local residents, village officials here insist that the land where an apartment complex is being built was not the site of a Native American cemetery.

Some residents were worried that the Drewek Apartment Complex currently under construction might have been the site of an old burial ground.

“My husband walked through the area several times years ago and said there had been some crosses and depressions in the earth where the wooden coffins had rotted away,” Linda Woodward said.

But John Fischer, director of operations at Emmerich & Associates, which oversees the construction efforts, said he traced the deeds on the land to the early 1900s.

“The land used to be 80 acres, and it was owned by St. Joseph’s Church at the turn of the century,” he said. Between 1920 and 1940, he said, the church kept 1 1/2 acres as a cemetery and sold the rest.

Fischer said a number of plots do remain about 200 feet from the site of the apartment complex but he wasn’t sure whether people were still buried there. Village administrator Dean Zuleger said officials have confirmed that construction won’t interfere with any sacred areas.

“Obviously, we were concerned, but we took the proper time and care to make sure we weren’t disrupting any resting places,” Zuleger said. “We’re confident now we know where the remaining burial sites are, and development won’t impact them.”
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