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Cemetery Committee Raising Funds For Columbarium

By Craig Baird

Last year, the Cemetery Committee worked extremely hard to beautify the Gull Lake Cemetery in preparation for Communities in Bloom. Thanks to their hard work, they helped the town earn Two Blooms (one point shy of Three Blooms). The committee worked on a number of projects over the course of last year, some of which continue this year.

“We purchased three benches and we are putting those benches in at the cemetery. One will be by the entrance sign, where the map of the cemetery will be,” Jim Helyar, chair of the Cemetery Committee, said. “We have purchased a pressure washer to wash the grave covers. We spent quite a bit of time experimenting with how to clean moss and algae off the grave covers. We found that the thing that works best is a pressure washer. As soon as it warms up, we can go and clean a bunch of covers.”

In addition, the Cemetery Committee purchased a sign, which can be seen from the highway, that goes on the southwest corner of the lot showing that it is the Gull Lake Cemetery.

“We have the sign built, we are just waiting until spring to put that in,” Helyar said. “We have a few signs, just some regulations, to put outside the gate. We are going to get some signs made to identify each block, there are 15, which will be shown on the map. They will identify the blocks and the graves.”

There are several projects planned for this spring and summer as well, including cutting down the hedges so that they are more hedge-like and less bush-like.

“That is a big job, along with cleaning the covers.”

The Cemetery Committee is trying to raise $24,000 for a columbarium, which would be used to intern ashes of departed loved ones in the cemetery.

“We have a lot of people who are interested in being cremated and being put in the columbarium,” Helyar said. “We got a lot of people interested in those spots.”

The columbarium the committee is looking at has 64 cubicles to house ashes. With the large cost, the committee is looking at how to raise the money needed.

“Mostly from donations is how we would raise funds,” Helyar said. “We are looking at the possibility of getting enough people interested so we can pre-sell some cubicles and get enough to pay for the unit.”

There is the option to go with an outfit that will build and install the columbarium, but they would sell the units and give a small portion of the money back to the Cemetery Committee. Both Town Council and the Cemetery Committee are not interested in that option unless they absolutely need to.

If you are interested in donating to bring a columbarium to the Gull Lake Cemetery, you can bring a donation down to the town office and state whether you want it to go to the Cemetery Committee or the columbarium.

“We are making an account for the columbarium specifically.”

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