For many people, the loss of a loved one is a time of reflection and thought as one goes through grief. The city of Denison has opened a new section if Fairview Cemetery Friday aimed at providing that quiet, peaceful place for those in need of reflection for mourning.
City officials gathered at Fairview Cemetery Friday morning for the dedication of the new garden of tranquility — a section of the cemetery dedicated to burial plots for cremations. The new section includes designed landscaping, two ponds with a connected stream and benches with pathways made from bricks harvested from Chestnut Street.
“Tranquility means peace of mind, quiet and calm,” cemetery Superintendent Harold Wagoner said. “That is what we wanted to offer the families of Fairview Cemetery.”
The small section of the cemetery features enough space for nearly 1,100 cremation burials, Wagoner said. The urn from each creation will be buried beneath the 16-inch by two-foot headstone, he said. With this capacity, Wagoner said he expected the section to last for the better part of a century before reaching capacity.
In the middle of one of the paths, a stone plaque commemorates the opening of this section of the cemetery. Similar to the headstones, a time capsule, featuring information on the cemetery and its staff, is buried underneath the plaque.
Wagoner said city officials and leadership at the cemetery discussed the idea of dedicating such a section of the cemetery due to the increasing number of cremations that are taking place. In 2012, creations made up about 30 percent of all final arrangements in the area, he said. Only three years later, creations made up nearly 50 percent of all final arrangements.
Wagoner attributed this growth to the expenses involved with burials and funerals. The closest cemetery that provides similar service is in McKinney, he added.
During his presentation Friday, Wagoner said he and his family spent some time at the pond prior to the official opening. While they were there, Wagoner said he was approached by an elderly soldier who had served during the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
“He said, ‘I want you to know the city did a fine thing in doing this. My wife always wanted to have one of these and now she has one,’” Wagoner said.
Denison Development Services Director Gabe Reaume said the city spent nearly $20,000 on the new section of the cemetery. The city was able to save some money by utilizing city employees for labor and existing materials for the project — the brick walkways are paved using bricks harvested from Chestnut Street and rock for the pond was collected from the cemetery itself during excavations, Reaume said.