Cemetery Association begins Capital Campaign

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The Greenwood Cemetery Association (ASSOCIATION) was formed in 1893 and has a five-member volunteer Board of Trustees.  They are tasked with the maintenance, upkeep and preservation of the cemetery for current and future generations.  

The ASSOCIATION membership is made up of those individuals and families who own grave spaces in the Cemetery. 

The ASSOCIATION does not receive any funding from the City or County of Wayne by way of taxation or levy through property tax collection. With that in mind, the ASSOCIATION will be initiating a Capital Campaign to raise funds for a variety of necessary projects, repairs and improvements. 

The Trustees have reviewed and prioritized the items that need funding and are seeking assistance with meeting these financial needs. 

The ASSOCIATION’s most important priority is to maintain accurate records for the more than 10,000 graves, including availability for purchase, individual plot ownership and burial records.  Currently it requires multiple entries in four different programs to track the necessary information. 

The ASSOCIATION needs to upgrade to a single-entry system that would replace the current inefficient four step system. 

The cemetery management software system upgrade would include GIS (Geographical Information System) mapping and on-line burial search. This advanced technology will allow the ASSOCIATION to update records, maps, ownership and burials with a single entry.  The data will be hosted in ‘cloud technology’ and be available to anyone, anywhere in the world, at any time via a computer, a tablet, a cell phone or any smart device.

The Legacy Fund of Wayne has awarded the ASSOCIATION a grant sufficient to cover most of the upgrades to the technology equipment. However, the software upgrades will require an additional investment of $25,000. The ASSOCIATION computer, hardware and technology will be moved to the Greenwood Cemetery Chapel where it will soon have internet capability.  

The Chapel requires updating and maintenance so that it can continue to be used for years to come.  The windows and doors need replacing, the concrete slab floor must be leveled and adding gutters is necessary to prevent the damage from recurring. The Chapel then can be used for services in inclement weather or family gatherings.  These upgrades are estimated at about $75,000. Ultimately, the ASSOCIATION envisions an office being added to the northwest side for the records processing and storage.  

Some projects will take several years to complete due to the enormity and cost.  

One such item is repair and replacement of the roads that are in disrepair.  The cemetery roads were originally poured by the W.P.A. under the FDR Administration.  Some of the east/west roads along the north boundary were replaced several years ago.  The City of Wayne replaced the far west north-south road this last year for better access to the City’s water tower.  The remaining roads are failing and are requiring replacement. 

In addition, the Cemetery has been severely affected by “pine wilt” and had to remove a significant number of old growth trees.  Some were also removed due to storm damage. The ASSOCIATION is anxious to start a re-treeing program to maintain the beauty of our Cemetery.  

Also, as time passes headstones/markers/monuments have tipped or are tilting.  Often there are no surviving family members in the area to repair those stones. The ASSOCIATION has allotted a small annual budget to be able to address this need too.

Finally, the ASSOCIATION would like to add structures for above ground burials.  The increase in Cremains burials each year indicates this will be the trend moving forward. The area to the north of the Chapel and the east/west area just inside the south fence along Seventh Street would be ideal for this purpose.  This goal is a longer-term project and should make for the best use of the existing grounds.

The ASSOCIATION will be seeking donations and pledges to assist in meeting the needs of the Cemetery. The expected implementation of projects will be anywhere from one to five years at an estimated cost of $175,000.  

Anyone who would like to make a donation or pledge, please contact the Greenwood Cemetery Association at PO Box 292, Wayne, Neb. 68787.  If there is a specific project that is of an interest to you and your wish is to fund it, please designate that and the ASSOCIATION will honor your intentions.

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