While expansion work continues at South Cemetery in Lyndeborough, the town is trying to maintain its other burial grounds.
When a resident brought to the attention of town officials that the gate at Johnson Corner Cemetery needed repair, the trustees realized a bigger expansion project required sacrifices. Their work will go beyond just this summer’s ambitions.
“I think that’s probably true about a lot of projects in town,” Bob Rogers, chair of the cemetery trustees, said. “There’s a lot we’d like to do, and it’ll all get done eventually.”
Town Administrator Russ Boland mentioned the gate at a Select Board meeting on March 15. Since then, the board and cemetery trustees are working together to make cemeteries a bigger priority in town.
“I think it’s been more about formalized talks, and they’re working together,” Boland said over the phone last week.
When the issue arose in March, officials thought it would not be an expensive job to repair the fence at Johnson Corner Cemetery, which faces Purgatory Falls Road in the easternmost part of Lyndeborough.
“The gate is off waving, flapping in the breeze,” Boland relayed at that meeting, to which the selectmen agreed that they should do something.
“It’s a new fence, but it needs to be uprighted and painted,” Selectman Fred Douglas said. “The people who brought it to my attention are very sentimental about the cemetery and the fence.”
The stone pillar is canted and needs to be uprighted. When there are burials at Johnson Corner, sections of the fence need to be moved out of the way of heavy equipment, and that has led to wear.
While repairs may be unlikely this year, because Rogers said it is not in the cemetery budget, the selectmen think it could come from the general government buildings budget if necessary – the complaint sparked cooperation. In addition to greater communication between the trustees and selectmen, the Highway Department, which handles brush removal in the spring, agreed to move forward and finish that before resuming Mountain Road construction.
“Our budget is small but we stretch it as far as we can,” Roger said. “We’ve been very fortunate, with volunteers providing their own labor.”
The cemetery budget is $11,704. Most of that will go to the two-acre annex at South Cemetery, which needs filling, grating and laying out.