A mausoleum costing nearly $200,000 will be constructed at Mount Airy’s Oakdale Cemetery to help meet future demands.
“We think it is a wise move to go ahead and make this investment,” said Jack Loftis of the city cemetery commission, a group appointed by the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners to manage the massive graveyard on North Main Street.
The planned expansion was approved by the cemetery group on Sept. 26 and received the endorsement of the commissioners in a meeting last week.
Members of the cemetery commission pointed out then that Oakdale Cemetery, which contains graves dating to the late 1800s, has slightly more than 500 in-ground spaces remaining.
While that might sound like a lot, they said, it is a small amount for a graveyard of Oakdale’s size, a sprawling facility that has more than 6,000 burial plots spread over 22 acres surrounded by residential neighborhoods. The present inventory of 500-plus in-ground spaces represents about a 10-year supply based on present usage rates.
In March 2008, 700 to 800 lots were available for sale, and officials then noted a need for expansion.
The 96 crypts to be provided through the mausoleum project will be above-ground. With a growing shortage of available land for cemetery use around the country, mausoleums are increasingly being embraced as an alternative, since they allow for a maximum number of entombments in a minimum amount of space.
Officials say the mausoleum will be 38 feet long and four rows high, with 12 drawers per row.
Based on cost figures for the project, the total construction price will be $183,080, which includes $5,000 for sidewalk and landscaping work.
The money for building the facility will not come from the municipality’s regular budget, but a cemetery endowment fund that contains proceeds from sources including past sales of burial plots.
When the construction and other expenses are accounted for, the sales of the 96 crypts are expected to eventually result in a net return to the cemetery fund of about $210,520.
Acme Stone Co. will build the mausoleum using Mount Airy granite.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or email@example.com.