The facelift of the North Royalton Cemetery continues. Those driving by on Royalton Road will see that a structure is being erected at the entrance. That structure being built will become a wrought iron style archway over the entryway, which will read “North Royalton Cemetery Est. 1866.” That archway will rest on brick pillars. The cost of the archway will be about $60,000, which was carried over from last year’s budget, according to North Royalton Finance Director, Eric Dean.
North Royalton’s main cemetery has been targeted for a sprucing up over the past few years by the city administration. The cemetery is located at 6170 Royalton Road, and is one of two cemeteries in North Royalton. Mayor Bob Stefanik said that although there was discussion over the past few years about placing decorative fencing along the section of Rt. 82, it is now realized that it is not a project that can be done, as the mature trees that run along the road would be killed if a fence was installed there. Stefanik said that the beautiful line of trees alone makes a natural border.
From what it was ten years ago, it’s a big difference,” said Stefanik. In 2008, Stefanik’s administration started to target the renovation and long-term maintenance of the cemetery when they started earmarking some of the funds from the proceeds of plots. Since then some sewer work has been done, as well as the replacement of the sidewalk in front of the cemetery, along Royalton Road. The driveway was also resurfaced and some concrete work done. There has been an overall cleanup within the cemetery, and adjacent property owners have replaced the fence that surrounds a portion to the north of the cemetery.
Other projects are also slated for this year. Those will include the refurbishment of the stone outbuilding and the upgrading of the maintenance building. The cost of the stone outbuilding will be partially funded through a state grant. The maintenance building is one of many city buildings that will be upgraded through and energy audit agreement, which will help the city recoup the investment through energy savings.
The refurbishment of the stone outbuilding will be starting soon. The building once served to hold the deceased over the winter months, where burial was impossible. The refurbishment of the building, which was built in 1879, will include a new roof and gutters, as well as other work that will enhance the structure of the building. Specifications for the repairs are currently being drawn up by Perspectus Architecture. That project will then go out for bids and work is expected to be done later this year.
Community Development Director Tom Jordan said that the cemetery upgrade was included in a grant application for a Capital Grant Request to the State of Ohio. The city will receive $100,000 of the $580,000 it asked for. According to the Ohio Office of Budget and Management, “the State of Ohio’s biennial Capital Budget, enacted in each even-numbered year, provides appropriations for the repair, reconstruction and construction of capital assets of state agencies, colleges, universities and school districts. In some years, funds may also be allocated for community projects of local or regional interest. In general, funding for state highways, bridges and other transportation construction is appropriated through the biennial Transportation Budget, enacted in odd-numbered years. Funding for most capital projects is supported by long-term debt issued by the State or, in some cases, by various cash funds.”
The city also received a grant previously, provided by the Cuyahoga County Veterans Service Commission’s Memorial Affairs Department. The grant funded the replacement or repair and/or reset of head stones of veterans buried at cemetery at no cost to the city, or the families. Jason Swim, Director of the city’s Parks and Recreation, is responsible for the cemetery. He and Council President Larry Antoskiewicz physically inventoried and examined all plots that had standard issue stones. About 300 stones were identified and with 95 of them needing attention, with about thirty needing replacement. A bid was awarded to Everlasting Memorials and Monuments for phase one of the project, which included the resetting and cleaning of 30 stones.
Phase two was completed by Milano Monuments, which reset another 30 stones. According to Antoskiewicz, all of the flat stones have been completed. There are some monument stones that still need attention. He said the city will be re-applying for grant money to fix those, in order to complete the project.
Contributing Writer