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August 9, 2022

Pajaro Valley Public Cemetery District running out of space

WATSONVILLE—Major work is underway at the Valley Public Cemetery to make way for hundreds of garden crypts.

The move is part of the Pajaro Valley Public Cemetery District’s needed expansion to create more land for burials, said Bob Tanner, Pajaro Valley Public Cemetery District Board of Trustees Chair.

Since the start of June, workers have been carving huge trenches to make space for the incoming 1,164 concrete crypts. Tanner said 607 of them are double space, while the remaining 557 are single.

“This is our last plot of land at this site, and, yes, we are looking for more land,” Tanner said. “We are running out of space. We’re landlocked right now; this is all we have.”

Over the past year, there were 241 people buried at the cemetery, Tanner said.

“This is pretty significant,” he added. 

Tanner surmised that the pandemic may have played a factor in those numbers.

Maintenance worker Nolan Rackley said he is keenly aware of burial land running out.

“That they’re out here installing these new boxes is very important for us,” he said. “That’s because the cemetery has been filling up quickly.”

The cemetery, along Highway 152 near the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, is around three to four years shy of reaching full capacity, Tanner said.

The current installation project is around three to four weeks from completion.

Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.

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