SHREWSBURY – Shrewsbury Town Meeting members have officially voted to fund the expansion of Mountain View Cemetery across the street to Prospect Park.
Article 32 passed, but not without some concern voiced from residents. Several community members said they felt the area could be better used, while other people feared the park could be permanently changed. Traffic was also a concern.
Town Manager Kevin Mizikar acknowledged that the town hadn’t considered any other option for a potential cemetery expansion.
The vote comes after months of planning by the local government, designing by the BSC Group, and tree surveying by the Davey Tree Company. The plans call for something distinctly different than an ordinary cemetery.
“[We’re] creating a place that doesn’t look like Mountain View [Cemetery], but something that looks quite different that is responsive to nature and the environment. It’s a place where… people [will] go to commemorate their loved ones [and] also for families to go to enjoy nature for bird walks. The focus is a natural setting that also happens to have landscape and monuments and memorialization,” Ricardo Austrich, a manager at BSC group, said during an April 5 meeting.
Plans call for a gazebo, two new buildings (an office and a maintenance garage), and areas designed to house different types of burial, like a “cremation garden” and a “remembrance garden.” The goal is to have a cemetery that is long-lasting and flexible enough to accommodate different burial choices.
The new cemetery will occupy the southernmost 19 acres of Prospect Park near Merriam Avenue, and will leave the park’s remaining over 50 acres untouched.
Environmentalism was also key to the project. Over 2,300 trees were surveyed in the area to determine the most eco-friendly layout for the project. The only trees that will be removed are the dead, dying, or diseased.
There will be no tax increase associated with this project.