Meriden City Council votes to create East Cemetery task force

Meriden City Council votes to create East Cemetery task force


FILE PHOTO -- East Cemetery, located at the end of Miles Place off East Main Street in Meriden, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. At the time, City Councilors were considering an agreement with a private firm to survey East Cemetery and provide recommendations on the best way to run it. | Dave Zajac / Record-Journal

MERIDEN — The City Council is establishing a task force to determine the future of East Cemetery.

The cemetery, located at the end of Miles Place, has been owned by the city since 1845. The city budgets $5,000 a year for maintenance.

The consulting firm BSC Group conducted a $21,000 study, which examined the cemetery’s history and layout and the possibility of resuming the sale of burial plots. BSC presented its findings to the City Council earlier this year, noting reopening sales could produce up to $3.75 million in revenue for the city over time if a $250,000 investment is made to develop the site. The task force will review the group’s 42-page report.

The City Council’s public works and parks & recreation committee approved the creation of a task force earlier this month. The full council voted Monday to establish the task force.

City Councilor Cathy Battista emphasized the cemetery’s historic value, saying that at least three city mayors and veterans of the Revolutionary War and Civil War are buried there.

“It’s really astounding. Some of the markers you can’t even read,” Battista said. “At the present time the city’s only responsibility is maintenance and it needs much more than just mowing the grass there. There’s a lot of things going on there that need to be repaired.”

Members of the task force will be appointed by Mayor Kevin Scarpati. We the People Councilor Walter Shamock suggested his son, Gary Shamock, be named to the task force due to his previous efforts to maintain the cemetery, while We the People Councilor Bob Williams said a representative from the city’s Conservation Commission should be included.

Democratic Majority Leader Brian Daniels said any residents with an interest in joining the task force should contact the mayor’s office in City Hall. 203-317-2231 Twitter: @LeighTaussRJ

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