STOW: A proposal to construct a crematorium continues to spark debate in Stow.
After two meetings on the subject this week, City Council is set to take up the issue again on Jan. 7. A public hearing on the proposal by Redmon Funeral Home was to have been held on Monday, but that had to be moved to Thursday due to technical difficulties.
Funeral home owner Keith Redmon has requested permission to install cremation equipment to expand services he is able to offer.
The proposal has come under fire by residents who live near the funeral home.
The matter is now before a council committee for further review.
Among those to speak out in favor of the proposal is John Kitchen, senior pastor at Stow Alliance Fellowship.
Kitchen said he lives on Elm Road near the funeral home on Darrow Road.
“The Redmons are not only wonderful professionals, but they were truly compassionate, caring and sought to do what is best for their customers,” Kitchen said. “They have been long residents and contributors to this community. Their excellent reputation has been earned one family at a time in those darkest hours of their lives. They have proven again and again that they cared about the people of this community.”
Mark Ryland, who resides on Thorndale Avenue, opposes the proposal. Ryland teaches in the field of neurodiagnostics, a study of electrical activity in the brain and nervous system, at Cuyahoga Community College.
“I am opposing the proposal to allow the Redmon Funeral Home to operate a crematorium,” he said. “It has been demonstrated that crematoriums cause the release of mercury, which is known to be neurotoxic and ototoxic, meaning it causes damage to the nervous system and to hearing.”
The Stow-Munroe Falls Chamber of Commerce has voiced its support of the Redmon’s request.
Councilwoman Mary Bednar said from the research she has seen it does not appear the crematorium would pose a health risk.
“We need to look at what is in front of us in black and white on a piece of paper,” she said.
Councilman Mike Rasor said he opposes the idea.
“I just bought a house in Stow two months ago. If I don’t want it happening next to my house, I won’t vote for it to happen next to your house,” Rasor said.