Riverview Cemetery prepares for expansion


Seymour’s Riverview Cemetery is preparing for an expansion after purchasing more property.

Frank Cottey, cemetery operations manager, said Riverview recently purchased 4.25 acres of the old Seymour Country Club earlier in the year from Seymour resident Jerry Edwards of Beecher Investments.

The transaction took place in March prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s the property that borders ours right behind us along the fence, and we already had 8.25 acres on the north side of us,” Cottey said. “That brings the total to 12.5 acres for future development.”

The next step for the new property, before developing any grave spaces, will be doing some landscaping because there were some golf tees and sand traps that need redone, said Steve Boas, president of the cemetery board.

Cottey said they are still a few years out from developing the new property.

Founded April 24, 1882, Riverview Cemetery is currently the largest cemetery in Jackson County and is a nonprofit organization.

“Any time we have an opportunity to expand without having to cross a road or being physically separated from our property, we try to do that,” Boas said. “Those opportunities don’t come along very often.”

Boas said the biggest misconception is that people drive down State Road 11 and think the cemetery is full or approaching full.

This is because that was probably the portion of land that was first settled in the 1880s when the cemetery first opened, Boas said.

“Right now, we have 5,350 plots that are available for purchase, so there’s no rush to start developing the property,” Cottey said. “With the additional acreage, there is the potential for approximately 13,500 more plots.”

Cottey said with cremation on the rise, Riverview is going to offer some cremation options with some of the smaller areas at the cemetery.

He said the land was purchased for future generations so they could be close by other family members and keep the legacy going.

“We have to think in decades, so we don’t have a five-year plan. We have a 75-year plan,” Boas said.

Cottey said with their average plot sales per year with what they have developed and land for future development, they have approximately 150 years of plots that will be available for future generations.

“A lot of people think all we do is bury people here, but we offer a lot of other services and products,” Cottey said. “We have monuments, artificial flowers, monument cleaning, a year-round floral program, grave blankets and more.”

Boas said what’s nice is since they are a nonprofit organization, the money goes back into the cemetery for overall care and maintenance.

Those funds are used for such things as when their ash trees had to be removed awhile back due to the emerald ash borer.

The approximate cost for tree removal was around $2,000 per tree, as they were very large.

“Now, we are constantly planting new trees and using a variety, not just all one species,” Cottey said. “That’s just in case anything ever does come back through like the ash borer so we won’t lose all of our trees at once.”

Cottey said Riverview has an anonymous donor that has been gracious with supplying trees.

When Riverview Cemetery first opened, 15% of all of the space sales went into a state-mandated perpetual care fund.

“It has accumulated to be a substantial amount of money, and the idea it to keep the trees trimmed and the grass mowed in perpetuation,” Boas said. “This is in case we do become full or are no longer generating any funds, so we’re going to be able to take care of the cemetery grounds for a very long time.”

Riverview is on 56 acres of land with 18,295 people interred in the cemetery.

Boas said there are several notable people buried in Riverview Cemetery: Meedy and Eliza Shields (founders of Seymour), Frank Brown Shields (creator of Barbasol shaving cream), Blair Kiel (NFL quarterback), Jason Brevoort Brown (congressman) and Thomas M. Honan (attorney general of Indiana from 1911 to 1915).

Currently, the staff is working on getting all records in digital format and creating a website so people will be able to look up who is buried at the cemetery and what services the cemetery offers.

At a glance

Riverview Cemetery is located at 1603 Shields Ave., Seymour.

Services and products offered:

  • Traditional burial and cremation plots
  • Cremation niches
  • Monuments and monument accessories
  • Artificial floral arrangements, Christmas wreaths, grave blankets and a year-round floral program
  • Monument cleaning
  • Payment plans available for the purchase of plots and monuments

For information about the cemetery, services and products, call 812-522-4400.

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