ADAMS, Mass. — The Cemetery Commission will consider a five-year capital improvement plan and feasibility study to inform the possible expansion of Bellevue Cemetery.
Cemetery Commissioner Bruce Shepley asked the commission last week to consider future projects to include in a five-year capital improvement plan for the town’s cemeteries.
"I am asking you to put thinking caps on and in the next month come with what you would like to see done at the cemeteries," he said. "Bottom line is what are your thoughts about capital improvements."
Shepley said the commission did produce an improvement plan some years ago, however, he has yet to find it. He added that the Cemetery Department still has funds it can expend to improve the cemeteries but the commissioners would need to figure out how low they can draw this fund.
He listed some potential projects such as paving the back roads at Bellevue and the completion of the Maple Street Cemetery fence. He said this project was never completed because the town ran out of funds.
In tandem with this project, Shepley thought it would be prudent to conduct a feasibility study to see if there is a need to expand Bellevue.
"There is a lot that goes into this before but I would like you to think about it," he said.
Shepley said the commission would have to determine if there is really a need for expansion and look at the number of people being buried and cremated and extrapolate this number.
He was unsure if this was something the commission could do on its own and said he would reach out to the Board of Selectmen and town administrator.
In other business, the commission a tabled a request to place a bench near a memorial stone until it has more information.
Shepley said he was not sure what kind of bench it was and noted the proposed location was not on the actual plot but in a right of way. Also, this installation would be against cemetery regulations that only allow for one marker per lot.
He said he understood the importance of reflection and broached the topic of installing a reflection garden at Bellevue.
"We don't have an area of reflection where people can go quietly and sit," he said. "I wonder if we want to think about something like that down the road and find a suitable spot."
He admired the memorial garden at Southview Cemetery in North Adams and thought a similar installation would be a good fit in Adams. It could also be included in the five-year plan, he said, if there is an interest in the community.
Shepley also gave an update on the Bellevue garage renovation project and said the project will not begin this year.
"It is still in flux. There is nothing in writing yet," he said. "What is a little discouraging to me is that nothing is going to happen this winter as far as construction and it's frustrating. We are going on our third year."
In 2017, the commission agreed to use nearly $120,000 from cemetery funds to renovate the standing cement-block garage.
Shepley said the town is still working with the contractor to iron out some details and some cost-saving measures. He said the town will fix a retaining wall in-house and is trying to get all windows and doors included in the original price.
"The more we can get for the dollar amount the happier I am going to be," he said. "I don't want to have to go back to the town to allocate more money from that fund."
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