WEST HAVEN -- There was nothing but praise Tuesday as many gathered to participate in the dedication of the long-awaited West Haven Cemetery that sits nestled on a hill in a quiet neighborhood.
Bryce Tolman and William Ercanbrach, from Boy Scout Troop 976, led the Pledge of Allegiance, which was followed by City Councilwoman Sharon Bolos' welcome to all who came to the dedication.
Bolos reminisced about the day, 2 1/2 years ago, when Mayor Brian Melaney brought her to this property that would become the cemetery. She said even though it was hard to imagine a cemetery in the mounds of dirt, she loved the seclusion of the location.
"As I watched it evolve over the months, I was impressed by the beauty of the park, but now to see it finally completed and being dedicated is so rewarding ... the months of construction culminating in a beautiful place that will serve our residents and others for hundreds of years to come."
Dedicatory prayers were offered by Father Gustavo Vidal, from St. Mary's Catholic Church in West Haven, and by Mayor Brian Melaney, who is an elder in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"We dedicate these 10 acres as a final resting place, where families of all faiths and nationalities can find peace and feel welcome as their loved ones are laid here to rest," Melaney said.
"It's never a joyous occasion whenever we have a need for a cemetery, but it can hold a degree of peace and comfort, knowing that loved ones can rest at home in this beautiful spot."
He added that the cemetery is situated at a peaceful location with a nice view, allowing for some uninterrupted quiet moments for those who visit there.
Henry Prevedel said he bought four plots for his family in a very personal location in the cemetery. His plots sit high on the east edge and overlook his fields below.
His parents, Aldo and Ida Prevedel, came to Utah from Italy in the 1940s and farmed the land. Henry and his wife, Terry, still live there, and his family still owns all of the original land their parents once owned.
Jason Mumford lives close to the cemetery and has seen the progress from a lonely sandhill to such a beautiful and peaceful place.
"It's historical to see a city come into its own and make this step," he said.
Mumford works at American Monument and gave "very high marks" for the design layout of the park. He said project engineer Kris Nilsen, with Gardner Engineering, and all those who worked with him created an intelligent design of the slopes and topography that many cemeteries lack.
He said the design makes a "huge difference when placing monuments and then having them stay in place through the years."
Nona Forsgren, who recently bought six plots in the new cemetery, has lived in West Haven for 47 years. She said it is wonderful that the city now has its own cemetery, "but it should have been done a long time ago."
The city had contemplated creating a cemetery ever since it incorporated in 1991.
The current council decided the time was right and, after much searching, found this piece of property that was affordable, thanks to the Maurice Thinnes family, which sold the ground to the city for a "generous cost of $140,000," Melaney said.
The cemetery is at 1550 S. 2350 West and will accommodate about 6,500 single plots that can be purchased in any quantity. The cost per plot is $550 for residents and $850 for nonresidents.
To date, 380 plots have been sold.
Plots are available for purchase by appointment, and anyone interested should call 801-731-8882.