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Kiosks to keep visitors on right path

TAMPA They work like mall maps so loved ones don't get lost when paying respects.

Kevin Graham
August 10, 2007
St. Petersburg Times

As vivid as the memories of burying a loved one remain in the days and months after a funeral, certain details become fuzzy as the years pass.

Sometimes, it's the exact location of the grave.

Budding trees that marked the spot transform into grand oaks with hanging moss. Once pristine tombstones fade.

But if the grave site is in one of four city-owned and operated cemeteries, help is on the way.

Locator kiosks began going up in June at Oaklawn Cemetery in downtown Tampa, Woodlawn Cemetery in Tampa Heights, Marti/Colon Cemetery in west Tampa and Jackson Heights Cemetery in east Tampa.

Marsha Carter, who oversees the city-owned cemeteries for Tampa's Parks and Recreation Department, said her office receives constant calls from people requesting maps that show where a relative or friend was laid to rest.

Her staff prints out a cemetery map, highlights the plot, then mails it out. Having the map in hand helps, but there's no staff at the cemetery to point visitors in the right direction.

The locator kiosks will serve that purpose. They will be similar to maps inside a mall. While each individual grave won't be listed, names of cemetery sections and other landmarks will be labeled.

The cemetery maps will have a "you are here" pointer.

To learn cemetery names and plots for people buried in city-owned graveyards, log onto www.tampagov.net, type "cemeteries" in the search field and follow the link.

Kevin Graham can be reached at 813 226-3433 or kgraham@sptimes.com.

City owns, operates four cemeteries

The city of Tampa owns and operates four cemeteries that fall under the Parks and Recreation Department for maintenance and upkeep.

Jackson Heights Cemetery, 3600 block of E Lake Avenue: Originally known as Oakland, Jackson Heights became city-owned in 1942 with few vacant plots.

Marti/Colon Cemetery, 3110 W Columbus Drive: Composed of two separate cemeteries, the city owns and maintains the Marti Cemetery and only maintains the Colon Cemetery.

Oaklawn Cemetery, E Harrison Street between N Morgan and N Jefferson streets: Oaklawn became Tampa's first cemetery in 1850, when the property was deeded to the city by Alachua County commissioners. A Florida governor, two Supreme Court judges, and soldiers of seven wars are buried there.

Woodlawn Cemetery, 3412 N Ola Ave.: Conceived in 1887 when Oaklawn filled, Woodlawn headstones feature names such as Greco, Robles, Linebaugh, Lopez, Mabry and Ippolito.