New cemetery to expand choice for local residents
by Michael Langley
May 23, 2014 | 5851 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When trustees break ground on a new 6.3-acre cemetery on Valpico Road on the western edge of Tracy, they will start a project that will add 2,536 new gravesites for Tracy and Mountain House residents.

Alma Celaya, district manager for the Tracy Public Cemetery District, said the foresight of the five-member board of trustees will allow local residents to have a place to lay their loved ones to rest for generations.

“This cemetery will give the district a little upper hand in ensuring that our taxpayers have more to choose from,” Celaya said. “They are giving everybody the security that in the town that they live in, there is going to be plenty of room for their loved one, their parents to be buried at either the old or the new.”

Tracy Cemetery, 501 E. Schulte Road, sits on slightly more than 23 acres of land, with room for more than 30,000 burial plots and niches for cremated remains. Most of those plots are filled.

The district is developing the first phase of the 20-acre site on Valpico, which has not yet been named, starting with a public groundbreaking at 5:30 p.m. June 4.

“When it’s developed, it will have a shop with maybe a small office,” Celaya said. “It will have a veterans section, niches that are for cremated remains.”

The veterans section will include up to 599 graves.

Cemetery district Trustee Gene Birk said that he voted to buy the land, along with the other trustees, last year for some very specific reasons.

“We’re running out of space,” Birk said. “My hopes were to find something closer to where the old cemetery is. I wanted to find something that was close by and at the right price.”

Birk said that more people every year are electing for cremation, so the need for space in the ground will diminish.

“That five acres will take care of us until after we’re all gone,” he said.

The district awarded the construction to Diede Construction of Woodbridge, outside of Lodi, on May 7 and will build out the remaining 15 acres as the space is needed.

“It’s a good spot. You’ve got the Catholic church, the Mormon church (nearby),” Birk said, referring to the St. Bernard’s Catholic Church Holy Family Center, 12100 W. Valpico Road, and the meetinghouse of the Tracy Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 12300 W. Valpico Road.

• Contact Michael Ellis Langley at or 830-4231.

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