Village to buy 30 acres to expand Mount Albion Cemetery

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 May 2024 at 11:55 am

Historic cemetery would otherwise run out of space in 10-15 years

Photos by Tom Rivers: Jason Zicari, the superintendent of Mount Albion cemetery, stands on farmland that will become part of an expanded Mount Albion Cemetery. The Village Board submitted a purchase offer at $7,000 an acre for about 30 acres. A final survey needs to be done for a precise measurement of the land south of the current cemetery.

ALBION – Mount Albion is running out of room for new gravesites. The historic cemetery on Route 31 is on pace to run out of gravesites in about 10-15 years, said Jason Zicari, Mount Albion’s superintendent the past 28 years.

The Village Board has approved a purchase offer to acquire about 30 acres of farmland south of the cemetery at $7,000 per acre. That cost at about $210,000 will come out of a cemetery fund and won’t affect the village’s general fund.

A final survey is being done to determine the exact acreage – which will be multiplied by $7,000 for the final cost.

“We have secured the property,” Zicari said. “That’s the main thing and we did it at no cost to the taxpayers because this is coming out of the cemetery fund.”

He expects the 30 acres would be developed in phases, and may not be needed for at least a decade.

Mount Albion started the Deerfield section in 2001 with space for about 1,200 grave sites. There are only about 300 to 400 left.

The cemetery opened in 1843 and has about 20,000 gravesites on about 80 acres. The cemetery does about 75 burials a year and sells about 50 to 60 gravesites annually.

When Mount Albion was nearing capacity in 2001, it opened the new Deerfield section with about 1,200 gravesites. There are about 300 to 400 left there. Zicari also said there are undeveloped areas in the Mapleview section in the southwest corner and near the pump house in the front of the cemetery on the west side.

There are also many unclaimed graves sprinkled throughout the cemetery including in the older sections on the east side. Zicari said some families would buy many plots but didn’t always need all of them. Some people have preferred a plot in the older section where the spot may be high on a terrace or near a tree.

This road goes along the southern perimeter of the cemetery. The land the village is to acquire is on the other side of a row of trees and brush.

The new land is next to the southwest corner of the cemetery. Zicari said it should be fairly easy to expand, running paved paths by clearing out some of the hedges.

Once the deal is closed, the village can begin to plan for the future expansion.

“We will do it in phases,” Zicari said. “But that is all to be determined.”