Cemetery Master Plans

In 2014, McDoux assembled a team that won the opportunity to create a comprehensive master plan for the City of Austin, Texas, and its five historic cemeteries. Our partners in this effort were landscape architect/principal investigator Laura Knott and her team at John Milner Associates, Inc., (now JMA) and Mason Miller, who led the AmaTerra Environmental, Inc., team.

Perhaps one of the largest cemetery master plans developed to date, the Austin plan was broadly scoped to include:

  • Development of historic, natural, and cultural contexts (McDoux)
  • Social and physical history of each cemetery (McDoux)
  • Overall site condition assessment and report of findings (JMA)
  • Grave marker condition assessment (McDoux)
  • Treatment recommendations, priorities, and estimates of probable cost (JMA)
  • Preservation policy and funding recommendations (McDoux)
  • GIS digitization of existing maps and GPS mapping of cemetery features and infrastructure (AmaTerra)
  • Comprehensive cemetery tree survey (AmaTerra and Davey Tree)

At the heart of the project was an extensive public engagement effort, led by McDoux, which included:

  • Project website (austincemeteryplan.com), updated weekly
  • Monthly newsletters
  • Five bi-monthly community meetings, which included presentations and opportunities for public feedback
  • Stakeholder interviews
  • Community surveys

The City of Austin was highly proactive in its ongoing dialogue with the community about this project. Kim McKnight, the Parks and Recreation Department’s cultural resource specialist and manager of this project, had worked with stakeholders for months in 2013 to develop the scope of work for the project, and she used the email list developed through that effort to update stakeholders at least once a month with news and meeting reminders.  Public information officer Marion Sanchez also targeted outreach to Austin’s Latino community with PSAs on Spanish-language television and radio stations.

The current version of the City of Austin Historic Cemeteries Master Plan is available online here.

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