Rotary Club backs improvements at cemetery
A series of upgrades could soon come to Quincy Valley Cemetery, the community resting place for generations of local families, with plans underway or proposed for a sidewalk, landscaping, fencing, an added columbarium and a memorial pavilion.
The large expanse of lawn and grave markers on the west side of Quincy, along State Route 28, hosts burial services and visiting friends and family of the departed. While functioning as a community meeting place, the cemetery lacks amenities, and in recent years, interest has grown among residents to see improvements to make the place more comfortable, peaceful and attractive.
The city of Quincy has a project planned for improvements along 7th Avenue SW, which runs the length of the west side of the cemetery, and currently does not have curb, gutter or sidewalk. Construction along 7th Avenue SW would trigger other improvements along the edge of cemetery property, such as plantings and fencing, according to sources who have been involved with forming plans.
One upgrade, a new and developing idea for a memorial pavilion, does not hinge on completion of other amenity improvements, according to Chuck Allen, president of the Rotary Club of Quincy. Allen explained that a public shelter of some kind has been talked about for the cemetery, but as more people have gotten involved and enthusiasm has grown, the shelter concept has grown into a memorial pavilion to seat 100 people, with a large columbarium attached and restrooms.
The pavilion concept was unveiled in a Rotary meeting on June 15, with architectural renderings showing how far the idea has come. The proposed structure measures 40’ by 68’, or about 2,700 square feet, and would be sited in the north-central part of the cemetery, next to the maintenance yard.
The cemetery now has a simple columbarium. Rotary’s preliminary plans incorporate a much larger, covered columbarium into the north side of the pavilion, with a skylight overhead, two walls for niches and benches for reflection.
Allen said the cemetery is for everyone, and improvements there, including the memorial pavilion, should be a community-wide project. People are very interested, he said, and Rotary is looking forward to bringing in other groups to participate.
“Our contention and our hope is that by spring next year we can actually start working out there and get this built,” Allen said.
Like many longtime residents, Carl Yeates has a personal connection to the cemetery. He said he has relatives buried there, and he has for many years been involved in putting up American flags at the cemetery to honor veterans.
Yeates said that when he was Rotary president three years ago, he saw the cemetery needed a facelift and improvements and thought he could help. He visited many cemeteries, saw what others were doing with trees and other landscaping, and he started talking with the cemetery board and the city.
“It’s been a long process coming to a consensus what we could do,” he said. “It’s kind of got a snowball going. I am just delighted to see we have some people jumping on.”
The Rotary club’s goal is to make the cemetery more tranquil and better looking.
“We want to be beneficial to our community, and we’re going to see this through,” he said.
There is no cost estimate yet to build the pavilion.
Allen said Rotary wants to have a dialogue in the community and then determine from where funding will come.
“We anticipate it will be a partnership between multiple entities,” he said, including the club, the district and probably local businesses and other groups. “The idea is that with the project like this one we are proposing to do, with restrooms and a reflecting area and covered space for 100 people, it’s going to take that kind of effort from the community.”
By Dave Burgess, firstname.lastname@example.org