Courtland considering buying eight acres for expanding cemetery

Published 8:10 am Wednesday, May 26, 2010

COURTLAND—More than once Wright Funeral Home Director Bob Benton has told a family that a loved one could not be buried in Riverside Cemetery.

That’s because about a year ago, the Town Council agreed that only residents could be buried in Courtland’s municipal cemetery, which is running out of space.

The Town Council now hopes to buy eight acres to expand the cemetery, which pleases Barton.

“I think it’s great,” he said. “It will give people another place to be buried.”

The council has proposed buying a vacant field at Rochelle Street and Flaggy Run Road, said Courtland Mayor Lewis Davis.

A public hearing to get comments from residents will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 3, at the town office at 22219 Meherrin Road.

“We just didn’t want to do this without the neighbors knowing what is going on,” Davis said. “Would you rather see a cemetery or a housing development?”

The eight acres is about two blocks from Riverside Cemetery, Davis said. He would not name the landowner or cost of the property because negotiations are continuing.

The 79-year-old mayor said Riverside Cemetery has been around as long as he can remember; Davis has lived in Courtland most of his life.

Twenty-square-foot plots in the 12- to 15-acre cemetery cost $4,000.

About a year ago, council members realized the cemetery was filling up.

“We decided to stop selling plots to those who do not reside in Courtland,” Davis said. “That bothered some people who might have a relative elsewhere, but they couldn’t be buried here. Lots are a lot cheaper in Courtland.”

The town pays a crew to maintain the cemetery, which involves cutting the grass, cleaning trash and trimming shrubs.