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Friday, October 25, 2019

Aesthetic renovations underway at Wesley Chapel Cemetery

Aesthetic renovations underway at Wesley Chapel Cemetery

There’s nothing spooky or scary happening at Wesley Chapel Cemetery. The city-maintained cemetery is getting its first renovation and, hopefully, Westminster residents both current and former, will appreciate the respect and aesthetic improvements to the site.

Founded in 1889, Wesley Chapel Cemetery sits at the northeast corner of 120th Avenue and Huron Street and was acquired by the city in 2001. Approximately 110 Westminster homesteaders, pioneers and their descendants are buried at the site. The cemetery is overseen by the Wesley Chapel Cemetery Board in conjunction with the city.

“The city mows the grass, but since the city isn’t in the mortuary business, new people are rarely buried there,” said Park Services Manager Lance Johnson. “We’ve wanted to make renovations to the look of the site entrance and border for a while, but definitely will not by disturbing any remains.”

A preservation plan of the site was conducted by Tatanka Historical Associates, Inc. in March of 2008, which provided recommendations for future cemetery renovations.

The current project consists of installing 16 stone pillars six feet tall covered by brick and steel, and wrought-iron fencing around the cemetery boundary. A pedestrian gate and maintenance gate will be installed, too. This phase of the project should be completed by the end of November.

The city budgeted $200,000 in capital improvement funds for these renovations and future improvements, such as information signage, a parking lot and additional landscaping. These improvements are hoped to be completed next year.

“Prior to the start of the project, city staff consulted with the University of Northern Colorado’s Archeology Department and the Assistant State Archaeologist,” said Johnson. “We chose a consultant to be the on-site archeologist and monitor the entire grounds during these activities. Our intention is to make sure that no remains are disturbed.”

This project came together with help from city Landscape Architects and Community Development Department staff.

“We wanted any renovations to the site to fit within the aesthetics of the landscape and be reminiscent of materials that would have been used at the turn of the 19th century,” said Johnson.

There have been eight burials at the cemetery since 1960 since the cemetery is a historical site and families would have had to purchase a burial plot before 1940. Two Civil War veterans are buried in the cemetery.

“The city wants the site to look respectful to honor those who helped plant the seed of what the City of Westminster has become today,” said Johnson.

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