MILTON — Keyser Cemetery Board members spoke in support of the $25,000 sale of a parcel of land belonging to the Milton Historic Cemetery, adding it was only fair the proceeds go to the city-owned cemetery because it was their property.
The $25,000 sale of the parcel, located north of Berryhill Road, will be used to fund a pavilion at Milton Cemetery, according to MHC board chairwoman Pamela Mitchell.
The city owns Milton Cemetery, while Keyser Cemetery, which once served as a segregated cemetery, is privately owned.
Barbara Glover, board member for Keyser Cemetery, said she wanted to clear up any confusion about who should get funds from the sale.
"(Milton Historic Cemetery) owns the property, according to property appraiser and city clerks reports," Glover said at the April 18 meeting. "So the proceeds should go to them."
Glover said Keyser, which is a nonprofit cemetery, does not sell plots and is grateful for any money from the city or other organizations. She said the cemetery relies on donations and grants to operate.
"We are grateful for the $5,500 the city gives us each year," she said.
Glover said the board has talked before about becoming publicly owned like the Milton Cemetery. She said it sounded like a "win-win" situation, but had some concerns. She said she was afraid if Keyser became a municipal cemetery that families would have to begin buying plots, a concern for her.
According to historic records of the cemetery, the land was originally donated for African Americans to have a place to be buried. This was a reason Glover said Keyser did not sell plots.
"There are a lot of issues that need to be addressed before we merge," Glover said.
City Manager Randy Jorgenson said that these were things the Keyser Board and the city could discuss if ever a serious discussion about the cemetery coming under the city would take place.
City Councilwoman Mary Ellen Johnson said the main goal was for the city and the Keyser board to work together.
"This is going to take a lot of discussion," Johnson said.
Johnson said there were issues they were researching including some that go back to 1889 involving the name of cemetery.