TEMPERANCE -- Work on Bedford Township's new cemetery at Lewis Avenue and Samaria Road is nearing completion, and the cemetery could be open for burials as soon as Dec. 1, the township board heard last week.
David Wehner, construction manager for Mannik and Smith, the township's engineer on the project, said wet fall weather slowed work but grading has been completed and punch list items were being addressed.
Mr. Wehner said masonry and fencing work was done along with grass seeding. He said 88 trees will be planted by the end of the month and lot markers installed.
Responding to a question from Trustee Larry O'Dell, he said, if need be, the facility could accept burials by the middle of November, but he recommended Dec. 1 as a better date and board members agreed.
The board plans to have an official opening when township Clerk Bob Schockman, who is recovering from a liver transplant, is back at work. The township clerk is the ex officio sexton.
The new cemetery, called Bedford Memorial Gardens, is needed because the township has run out of burial plots at its three cemeteries. Bedford residents have been purchasing burial sites in Whiteford Union Cemetery in Whiteford Township, in Toledo, or elsewhere.
There were 18 burials in Bedford cemeteries last year, compared to nine in 2009 and 13 in 2008.
Bedford Memorial Gardens is being built at the southeast corner of Lewis and Samaria in four phases. It will be north of Lewis Ansted Community Park, which is under development.
The cemetery's first phase is the only one under current development, although drainage work has been done on Phase 2. Phase 1 is projected to cost $550,000. For financing, the township is borrowing money from its sewer fund, with revenue from the sales of plots used for repayment. The goal is to sell 100 plots annually.
The price of a monument grave is $750 for residents and $1,125 for nonresidents. Flat graves are $600 for residents and $900 for nonresidents, and infant and cremation graves are $300 for residents and nonresidents.
The cemetery will have a niche wall for cremation burials and plots for indigents.
Altogether, there will be 2,100 ground burial sites and 700 cremation burial sites. The main entrance on Lewis will feature an entry gate and decorative fencing.
In other business, Treasurer Sherri Meyer said tax bills will be mailed the first week in December. She said property owners who have refinanced should inform the township of their new lender.