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BURIAL SPACE ALMOST GONE; CITY SEEKING A NEW SITE

Burial space in the nearly full Provo City Cemetery is at a premium.

Most of the plots are privately owned. They were purchased by families or individuals years ago."There are few owned by the city," said Sandy Mitchell, cemetery director. Mitchell estimated the cemetery has seven to 10 years worth of sales left. Most of the available plots are in a section where grave markers lie flat on the ground. Plots typically go for $250 and $310.

"We're one of the few cemeteries that allow upright markers. Of course we have to look for more space to do that. We're running out of space," Mitchell said.

"(People) come here and they have their hearts set on something and it's tough to say no to them," he said.

Interestingly, Mitchell said, cemetery workers have somehow been able to find ground for people who want relatives buried in specific areas. Usually, the cemetery has found someone willing to sell a plot or trade plots.

Mayor Joe Jenkins listed deciding on a new cemetery site as one of the city's goals for 1991.

"We haven't at this point had a discussion on it," said Leroy Dennis, parks and recreation director. Dennis said the city would "more than likely" look for new ground rather than expand the current 44acre cemetery.

Meanwhile, Mitchell has big renovation plans for the cemetery this year.

The veterans memorial will be moved and expanded to include the names of Provoans who served in the military during the nation's wars. It will be surrounded by lights making it more visible to State Street motorists and cemetery visitors.

Workers will begin a block-by-block improvement of the cemetery grounds. Crews will remove unwanted grasses, level sunken spots and plant sod and trees. The water system will be upgraded and some of the roads will be widened.

Also, the front of the cemetery on State Street from about 600 South to 900 South will be landscaped. Mitchell said the greenery will rid the cemetery's exterior of a "hard appearance. We're going to soften it up," he said.

The new outside look will add to the serenity on the inside.

"You can hear the birds chirping here. It's one of the most peaceful places that I've worked," Mitchell said.