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Published: Tuesday, 8/24/2010

Bedford Township has plan for new cemetery


TEMPERANCE - Bedford Township's first new cemetery in many years will be built on township land on Lewis Avenue near Samaria Road.

Township officials last week approved building the first phase of the yet-to-be-named cemetery and financing the project by borrowing money from the township sewer fund.

Barry Buschman of Mannik & Smith Group Inc., the township's engineering and planning consultant, outlined the project to township officials.

According to his presentation, the first phase of the cemetery, which carries a $550,000 price tag, will include 2,100 burial spaces, 742 cremation burial sites, and 624 infant burial sites.

"As you can see, we have easily in excess of 3,000 spaces in Phase One," he said.

In development of the 14-acre cemetery, there are plans to have 1,900 burial plots in the second phase, and another 5,400 graves in the third and fourth phases, which Mr. Buschman said could take 20 to 30 years to undertake.

Plans developed by the township cemetery commission call for borrowing $550,000 from the sewer fund and repaying the loan at 2 percent interest over 10 years.

Mr. Buschman said the money will be repaid through the sale of grave sites.

A one-time-only discounted sale of burial sites will be held for three months, possibly at the end of the year.

"The goal is to offer a very discounted rate for the citizens of Bedford Township and people outside the township in an effort to generate cash out front to help pay for the initial costs and reduce the amount of money borrowed from the sewer fund," Mr. Buschman said.

The cemetery commission estimates the township must sell 1,000 burial sites to repay the money taken from the sewer fund.

Rates proposed by the cemetery commission recommend selling graves for monument-type markers at $750 for township residents and $1,125 for nonresidents.

The cost of graves with flat grave markers were suggested to be sold for $600 for residents and $900 for nonresidents.

Mr. Buschman said burial sites, regardless of grave type, will be sold at the discounted rate of $500 for both township and nontownship residents.

"This will be a significant discount," Mr. Buschman said.

The township wants to begin construction on the cemetery in late fall or early winter and have the landscaping in place to accept burials next summer.

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