Why not? This is not some sort of bait and switch or trap to part you from your money. Let me explain:
At Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville, Indiana, a single grave measures 42” x 9’…on average. Getting some simple math out of the way before answering the question of why free graves: each grave equals 31.5 square feet. When you allow approximately 3” on either side of a grave for space between graves to allow future burials to not intrude on existing burials, then about 36 square feet equals one grave space. There are 43,460 square feet in an acre of land which means that there are approximately 1210 graves per acre.
Calumet Park Cemetery has over 250 “undeveloped” acres of land as of this date. 250 x 1210 graves per acre = 302,500 potential graves available on land that is not yet developed but already bought and paid for … just sitting in inventory. In our 85 plus years, we have had around 48,000 burials, plus many cremations and placements in our three mausoleums and two octagon columbariums for permanent placement of cremains.
If past needs for burial space is projected into the future, indications would be that we have burial space for over 500 years, not counting the tens of thousands of graves still available on the 160 acres of land that are currently developed.
The point of this exercise in simple arithmetic is that Calumet Park Cemetery is rich in land. Considering the fact that the United States is 238 years old, it would follow that having a place to be buried in NW Indiana will not be a problem in the foreseeable future at Calumet Park Cemetery. So, 258 words into this post bring us to the answer to why we would give free graves away. The concept of the free grave program is to help us build family heritage. Research has shown that when a person dies and a cemetery is chosen for his or her burial, their family and friends tend to use the same cemetery for their own future cemetery needs.
So it would make sense for us to encourage your use of Calumet Park by giving away a grave that is valued at $1000…a grave that will lead to the future growth and support of Calumet Park as the friends and family also use Calumet Park. This is a pre-need program except for veterans and they have earned a free grave regardless of whether we have this free grave program in place or not.
Should a person who does not own cemetery property (actually, ownership from a legal sense means burial rights for the chosen grave space) decide they would like to be in an area where the price of graves are greater than $1000, then they would get a credit in that amount toward the location of their choice. Calumet Park has graves from $1000 up to a four grave lot just in front of the Jesus, Mary and Joseph granite statue in the Catholic section for $78,000. That comes out to $19,500 per grave. Like buying a house, the three most important things in buying cemetery property are location, location and location.
Calumet Park can handle all of a family’s cemetery and funeral needs. Besides graves, we have mausoleum crypts, niches, many choices for cremation, and a funeral home for your funeral needs, whether you use Calumet Park Cemetery or not. At the cemetery, we help families with their vaults, opening and closing, memorial markers and upright monuments as well as caskets and urns. As an all-purpose cemetery, crematory and funeral home, we can give you the prices below that which most “chain” or “corporate” cemeteries offer, especially when you factor all the parts of a funeral that make up the whole experience. We are family owned and have been since our humble beginnings in 1928.
Calumet Park has done the checking and we feel that, long after the matter of price is forgotten, good service and being made to feel as part of the family count more. But, to attract you to the family, our prices must be competitive. For instance, we know that not everyone can write a check for $15,000 the day after the death of a loved one, so we are able to help people get exactly what they want by allowing families that buy pre-need to buy on time with never a penny of interest to be charged. By the way, $15,000 is the average price paid last year for all of one’s cemetery and funeral needs at the time of death. The law allows us to charge interest, but we don’t feel right about squeezing our families’ pocketbooks until it hurts. Check around and you will find most cemeteries charge interest or they sell insurance policies for the goods and services selected which adds on greatly to the bottom line when you make all of your payments. With Calumet Park, we give you the grave and help you choose the items necessary for you to design your final goodbye your way, and after a minimal down payment, we simply divide the balance over the number of months you need (up to 60 depending on the size of your agreement) that will fit into your budget.
So, if nothing else, stop in and find out all that is involved in pre-planning your cemetery and funeral arrangements and at least go away knowing that your time was worth $1000 as you pick out your free grave space.
If someone said to you, “Here’s a $1000, would you refuse it?” Well, if you came to Calumet Park Cemetery today to buy a single grave because someone you love died yesterday, the minimum we would ask for our least expensive grave would be $1000. Now, money is definitely not the end all and be all of life, except when you don’t have any.
For more information, go to calumetparkcemetery.com or call 219-769-8803.