West Haven prepares to open new cemetery this summer

May 12 2013 - 10:28pm


WEST HAVEN -- "Quiet, secluded and elevated" is how Mayor Brian Melaney describes the new West Haven Cemetery scheduled to open this summer.

"The cemetery is a beautiful asset to our city, and I am very pleased with the design and work that has been completed and that is still under way," Melaney said.

The new cemetery sits on 10 acres nestled on a hill in a quiet neighborhood at 2350 W. 1600 South. It will accommodate about 6,500 single plots that can be purchased in any quantity.

Officials have considered creating a cemetery ever since the city was incorporated in 1991.

The current council decided the time was right and, after much searching, found a piece of property that was affordable. The 10-acre site was bought from the Maurice Thinnes family for a "generous cost of $140,000," Melaney said.

"It was a great time to improve our city in this way and offer this service to our citizens," Councilwoman Sharon Bolos said. "This particular place was chosen because of its prime location, since it offers a peaceful seclusion and a fantastic view."

She said many of the places they looked at had a high water level that was not suitable for a cemetery.

This property sits high on a sand hill that was a result of a delta left from the Weber River when Lake Bonneville dried up thousands of years ago.

The site also has quite a bit of history associated with it.

Wendell Petterson said his grandfather Hans Petterson came from Sweden and homesteaded 160 acres of the land in the area.

He said, for years, cattle grazed off the junipers and sagebrush on the open range.

Because the sand hill sat up high, Native Americans would use the ground for their winter camp.

Later and for many years, the only road that led from West Weber into Ogden ran just south of the cemetery.

The only schoolhouse for children back then sat on the site.

Bolos said the land was secured in April 2011 and work began on the property in fall of that year.

Because the Thinnes family had used the ground as a sand pit to sell sand to brick makers and landscapers, trees had to be removed and a lot of dirt and sand had to be maneuvered in and around holes to make it suitable for burials.

The design is simple, Bolos said, and includes a roundabout at the entrance and a single road that loops around the property. It has been seeded, fertilized and mulched, and a sprinkler system has been installed. Landscaping is ongoing, including many trees, plants, bushes and flowers.

Bryan Harms, whose home directly borders the cemetery, said initially he wasn't in favor of "having a cemetery within feet of my property."

"But then I thought there could be worse alternatives to that land had someone bought it to develop condos or apartments," he said.

"Now I can see that the landscaping will be nice to look out on ... so the good outweighs the bad ... I guess time will tell," Harms said. "I just hope it remains a nice quiet place, since that is why we decided to build out here."

At a presale last spring, 278 plots were sold to residents of West Haven.

The city will be contacting those residents to come to City Hall today and Tuesday to select designated plots.

Another presale, open to both residents and nonresidents, will take place at West Haven City Hall on May 20 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and May 21 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The discounted prices for the plots for residents and nonresidents will be $500 and $800 respectively.

When the cemetery officially opens in the summer, plots will be sold for $550 for residents and $850 for nonresidents.

The city plans to eventually incorporate a pet cemetery off the northeast corner of the cemetery.

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