Cemetery project receives green light

BROWNSTOWN — A Medora contractor has received a $128,591 contract to add 1,083 burial plots to Brownstown’s largest cemetery.

That contract with Mitchell & Stark Construction Co. Inc. for the work at Fairview Cemetery was awarded by the town council during a recent meeting at the town hall. There were two other bidders, King’s Trucking & Excavation Inc. of Seymour, $129,645, and All-Star Paving Inc. of Seymour, $183,871.50.

The project has been in the works for at least a decade. The cemetery foundation has a $50,000 pledge from an anonymous donor to help offset the cost, and the council is eyeing two possible sources of revenue for the town’s share — a general obligation bond the town is in the process of obtaining and/or some of the $387,000 it received in American Rescue Plan monies.

The plan is to add 10 sections in an undeveloped area on the west side of the cemetery. The cemetery, located on 26.5 acres on the north side of the county seat, was established in 1850.

The current cost per burial plot is $650, but cemetery board President Luke Nolting told the council during a meeting earlier this year that the cemetery board has discussed an increase.

“When we do expand, that would be a good time to raise the cost of the cemetery lots to help offset the costs of expansion, and it makes sense. Everything else is going up in price,” he said.

At $650 a plot, the expansion would generate more than $700,000 in revenue.

With the expansion, the plan is to create an entrance at the end of North Elm Street to access the new sections. Currently, that road is blocked off. Nolting said opening that up would be easier for a funeral procession to go straight into the new area, and it would only be open on the day of a funeral.

The breakdown of estimated costs for the project includes $12,000 for clearing the site; $22,000 for earthwork; $11,000 for erosion control; $19,000 for the gravel lane; and $48,000 for a water line/storm sewer. Engineering, design and other services also has a $7,200 price tag.

The council voted 3-0 to approve the contract for the work with Mitchell & Stark. Council President Gregg Goshorn was absent.