SUGAR CREEK TWP. A 166-year-old cemetery nestled in rural southwestern County Stark awaits a new owner.
Law is on the table to transfer possession of Welty Cemetery, where burials began in 1854, to the village of Brewster.
The six-member village council is expected to consider a transfer order at second reading at its next regular meeting on Monday evening. A final vote is scheduled for Dec. 21, according to Mayor Chuck Hawk.
Currently, the 5.3-acre cemetery is owned and operated by the private Welty Cemetery Association, which is prepared to cede the site to the village at no cost.
Members of the association wish to vacate the property due to persistent difficulties in maintaining the site, the mayor said. The cemetery group was formed in 1912.
The cemetery is located on Manchester Avenue SW opposite Baylor Beach Park and just south of Lawndell Road SW.
Hawk said keeping a viable cemetery for area residents is the main reason village officials are considering taking over the site. There is no cemetery within Brewster.
Mowing and operating costs would be borne by the village if a transfer is approved. The cemetery earns its money by selling graves and administering fees, according to Hawk, adding that the village shouldn’t lose money if it takes over.
âWe think (the cemetery) will support each other,â Hawk said Thursday.
If the council vote on the cemetery is cast 3-3, Hawk would be tasked with breaking the tie. But the council appears to be in favor of the transfer, the mayor said.
âThey voted 5-1 to put (the issue) on our agenda,â he said. “I think that’s a decent sign.”
If approved, Brewster would likely receive the cemetery in early 2021, Hawk said.
The cemetery sexton employed by the association would become a village employee if the transfer goes through, Hawk said, assuming the worker wishes to continue working.
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