Contractors working on what will be a new Dollar General Store on Main Street in Booneville needed to get rid of some dirt. The City of Booneville was more than willing to take some.
Although it was one of about four different benefactors of the dirt that was removed from the lot, Oak Hill Cemetery was certainly the shortest haul, virtually across the highway.
Booneville Mayor Jerry Wilkins said last week he was glad to have the dirt at the cemetery because the influx of material will mean that the front section of Oak Hill can be fully opened quicker than had been expected.
Opening the section will expand the cemetery’s capacity by 500 to 600 lots, Wilkins said — there is currently one grave in the north east section of Oak Hill.
The cemetery was not in dire straights, but Wilkins said the 200 or so lots remaining in Oak Hill would likely have been gone in a decade or less.
While the dirt has remained as dumped to this point, Wilkins said Logan County Judge Gus Young has been gracious to help with spreading dirt in the past, when loads of dirt from other projects like a road project near the old city lake were moved to cemetery property.
Filling in the front section started in 2003 with dirt removed from the creek in Veteran’s Park because the section was unsuitable for use as a burial ground and because expansion of the cemetery by using existing property was favored over purchasing adjoining land.
Additionally, the front portion of the cemetery can only be used as such because land donors, B.B. and Ora L. Bevins were adamant that the land be utilized as a cemetery when they deeded the property to the city in November 1946.
However, the original property deed omitted the restriction but the city council, petitioned by about 700 citizens and faced with possible litigation by heirs of the donors should they consider veering from those wishes — erection of a community center was being considered — passed a resolution in June of 1972 recognizing the donors intentions.