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Preliminary Cemetery Plans Brought Before Selectmen

Mendon resident Gary Smith began preliminary discussions with the Board of Selectmen regarding a possible location for a new cemetery in town. Smith presented the information during a December 27 meeting.

By law, the Board is responsible to have sufficient cemetery space for residents and according to Smith, Mendon is currently short of available burial plots.

Smith believes the Cook Cemetery, a seven acre parcel of town-owned land, would make a good choice for a new cemetery in town. The land is set on a hill between Cahill's Farm fields off of Hartford Ave. East and Varney's Farm. Access would be from the end of Thornton St. and exiting at the end of Cemetery Road.

Through volunteer efforts, Smith told the Board that he has secured the funding necessary to begin soil testing on the land, survey the property, and also level it in preparation for a new cemetery. He was seeking the Board's permission to take the first steps forward with the project. "It couldn't be a better scenario," he said to the Board.

Years ago, Smith said he pushed the then Board of Selectmen to go forward with the same cemetery plans but because of the lack of funding, it was not pursued. "It grew legs for a moment but then faded away," said Selectmen Lawney Tinio, who said he supported the plan to begin testing the land to find out if it is suitable for a cemetery.

Should plans move forward with the proposal, Smith also recommended the cemetery contain horizontal headstones to limit potential vandalism.

Town Coordinator Dale Pleau believes there is only one active cemetery in town, the Swansdale Cemetery, which has limited space available.

"There's lots of work to be done and a lot of rules to be followed," said Smith in an interview after the Board meeting concerning a new cemetery. "The problem is nobody thinks about these things."

In other news that evening, a public hearing was held which resulted in the Board issuing a Class II License to Mendon Auto Sales located at 64 Milford St. The license contains the same terms as the applicant's, Terril Coley, previous license with a limit of no more than 17 cars allowed on the property.

And finally, the Board announced it would be switching its regular Monday evening meetings to Tuesday evenings. The change was made in order for one or more Board members to attend Monday evening School Committee meetings. The Board of Selectmen will continue to meet in the upper Town Hall at 7:30 p.m. Meeting dates can be located on the town's Web site at


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