The main goals of the Cemetery Master Plan are to beautify the Kennesaw City Cemetery, control stormwater runoff, provide an area to recognize donors and incorporate a peaceful garden area on land unsuitable for use as burial sites, foundation member Jacque Cullins of Kennesaw said.
The foundation recently presented a $500 check from its latest fundraising effort to Mayor Mark Mathews and the Kennesaw City Council.
Kennesaw Public Works Director Earnie Via said the first phase of the master plan is estimated to cost $250,000. He said funds will come from donations and grants, but the city — which owns the cemetery — would continue being responsible for maintenance.
The plan is focused on an area of the cemetery that is unsuitable for burial sites because of stormwater runoff. So one of the plan’s main projects is intended to beautify a dry riverbed with a natural look using plants and stones, as opposed to a concrete culvert, Cullins said.
Via said the dry river bed for stormwater control will be tied to a rain harvesting system that will feed an irrigation system.
“The master plan is going to address things that are two-fold: One is going to be historic preservation and the other is beautification,” Cullins said.
Other improvements include native plantings, a gravel path, covered bridge, parallel parking, a flag pole and memorial walls dedicated to donors and those cremated.
“It’s become more and more popular these days for folks to be cremated and not actually have a burial location,” Cullins said. “So one of the ideas in doing the master plan was that some people just want to have their headstones be a plaque on a wall and their remains spread.”
The plan will tie into and complement the master plan for the adjacent Camp McDonald, officials said.
The foundation and Kennesaw Cemetery Preservation Commission approved the plan last spring. The plan is awaiting approval from the City Council.
Since the 1980s, the cemetery foundation, which is composed of volunteers, has had periods of inactivity but over the past year has focused its attention on raising money for improvements, said Cullins, who serves as secretary and treasurer. Foundation members meet at 7:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at the Ben Robertson Community Center.
The Kennesaw City Cemetery lies on 8 acres of property that was once the site of Camp McDonald, a former Confederate training camp. Many of those buried in the historic site were city founders and Civil War veterans. The earliest burial was that of infant Lucius B. Summers, who was interred in 1863, according to city history.
In February 2008, underground virtual imaging estimated the number of burials. That estimate, plus the burials since 2008, indicates that between 700 and 750 people were buried in the cemetery, according to the city.
Not all lots have headstones, particularly in the pauper section, said Cullins, who has two lots reserved for her and her husband.
“There is a lot of history there and a lot we can learn from it,” she said. “It’s a beautiful location, and it’s something that I think we should do our best to preserve and maintain.”
Prices per cemetery lot are $500 each for city residents and $750 each for non-residents.
For more information about the Kennesaw Cemetery Preservation Foundation, contact email@example.com.