A local development company’s proposal to build a fifty story mausoleum on the city’s east side was formally reviewed for the first time last night by members of Delaware City Council.
Although the council ultimately determined that the proposal would need to be reviewed by the County Commissioners due to the proposed location of the highrise, the meeting allowed the facts behind the controversial plan to be made public.
The company behind the proposal, Divine Development Inc., touts the sky-high mausoleum as a “technologically advanced, environmentally friendly way to honor deceased members of the community.”
The building was compared to a traditional apartment tower, with the main difference being that the individual rooms would actually be tombs in which people could be laid to rest. A variety of parcels would be available; including rectangles big enough to hold a single coffin, small columbariums to hold individual bags of ashes, and large, condo-sized sanctuaries meant for an entire family. The most luxurious tombs would come complete with fountains, flowers, animals, and a staff of full-time groundskeepers.
If the company can persuade county commissioners to approve the development, construction of the building, dubbed the “Spirit Tower”, will begin in early 2012. The company already owns the 80 acre plot of land off of US 36 where they plan to construct the mausoleum.
“It’s a unique concept,” explained Divine Development spokesman Henry Waters. “This building will accommodate a multitude of budgets, conserve land, and provide technological innovation not seen with traditional burial options.”
Opponents of the idea stress the fact that, although a skyscraper mausoleum will require less land than traditional cemeteries, the amount of energy required to power the building will be just as damaging.
“The company is trying to pitch this as an environmentally friendly, innovative idea, when, in reality, it isn’t,” said environmentalist Barbara Cornell. “A skyscraper requires an enormous amount of energy to operate.”
Other opponents had more basic concerns.
“I just don’t want Delaware’s tallest building to be full of dead people,” said stay-at-home mom Terry Magler.
Company officials shrugged of all criticism.
“We should have been putting our dead in skyscrapers years ago,” said Waters.