TEMPERANCE - Nearly three years after buying the land, Bedford Township officials last week took the first steps to develop a new cemetery, the first in many years for the township.
A setback that had been required for the main entry and sign off Lewis Avenue and costs for land division fees were waived by the township board, clearing the way for plans to go before the township Board of Zoning Appeals for review.
The new cemetery, the township's fourth and the first of more than two acres, will be developed on 14 acres of 71 acres it bought nearly three years ago on the southeast corner of Samaria Road and Lewis.
A park is planned for the remaining 57 acres. The township has applied for a state grant to pay for the first phase of the park, which is being called Lewis Ansted Community Park.
One of the existing cemeteries, which dates to before the Civil War, is filled, and plots in the other cemeteries have been used for burials or purchased for future use.
Clerk Bob Schockman said the last remaining grave was sold in late 2007, forcing township residents to purchase plots at Whiteford Union Cemetery or go to Toledo.
"We get calls every day asking about cemetery plots and whether or not we have any," said Mr. Schockman, who is a member of the township cemetery committee.
Money to develop the cemetery will come from the sale of burial plots. The initial sale will involve two acres of the property.
"We will open up two acres for initial sale, and that should pay for the initial development," Mr. Shockman said. "We will move from there."
So far the township has spent about $6,000 in planning, engineering, and surveying work in connection with the project.
The committee is looking at building a roadway through the property from the entrance off Lewis.
A mauseoleum and columbarium to hold cremation urns are among the possible features that township envisions for the cemetery.
The township board was given preliminary plans for three possible layouts for the cemetery, with two of the designs proposing a circular road.
"We hope to be using the first phase of the cemetery by late next year," Mr. Schockman said.
In other action, the township board updated the ordinance regulating the sale of fireworks, requiring that firework products be sold in permanent structures and not in trailers, tents, or structurally unsound buildings.