PEORIA- A decision on a proposed cemetery in Peoria keeps getting delayed, and some residents say it's stressing them out.
Mary Chamberlain lives on the 1400 block of Elmhurst Avenue. For months, she's waited to see if a proposed cemetery would end up in her backyard. This month marks Chamberlains 20th year anniversary in her home. But she can hardly celebrate.
"It's made for several sleepless nights. It certainly took a lot of fun out of Christmas. We're now into spring," she said.
The Islamic Center of Peoria wants to put 641 burial plots between Forest Hill Ave. and Elmhurst Ave. Since January, the decision has been put off three times by the city's zoning commission. The zoning commission decided to defer the issue once, and the Islamic Center requested deferment twice. Now, the Islamic Center is requesting another deferral.
Jon Austin, director of Springdale Cemetery, says his committee has worked closely with the Islamic Center of Peoria in recent months. The Springdale authority is working on a proposal to give the Islamic Center 650 plots on its property.
Chamberlain believes that's the reason for the repeated deferrals, and says she doesn't mind if the burials are moved to Springdale Cemetery.
"As long as they keep putting it off that would be fine. I would hope the final decision is they have made other plans," she said.
Chamberlain says she can't imagine waiting another month for a decision. As stands, the proposed cemetery property would begin few dozen feet from Chamberlain's doorstep. She says she couldn't move if she wanted. And while many homeowners are starting spring projects, she says home improvements aren't an option.
"We were planning on putting up a new garage. Not investing in a garage at this point. Everything is on hold," Chamberlain said.
"Everything is prolonged. Everything is just, keeps on being put back. But yet the threat of this still happening is very frustrating," said resident Cynda Lovell.
A special zoning commission vote was cancelled Wednesday because there weren't enough people to cast a vote. The next zoning commission meeting will be May 3rd.
Lovell, who grew up in the neighborhood, says the waiting game is an absolute headache.
"Just make a decision to move on and put the cemetery somewhere else, because this down here doesn't make any sense at all," Lovell said.
"We're ready for it to be over. We are ready for them to make other plans," said Chamberlain.
Residents say if this passes, they will take action to reverse the decision. They've even begun collecting funds to purchase the property themselves. They say that want to make sure this would never be an option again.
Representatives from the Islamic Center of Peoria have not returned our calls.