Wickliffe looking at Community Development Block Grants for cemetery project

Mar. 18—Wickliffe City Engineer Pete Formica recently notified Wickliffe City Council's Finance Committee about the estimated costs for the new driveway and parking lot for the Wickliffe Cemetery.

According to Formica, the costs are between $125,000 and $130,000, and he is also looking into Community Development Block Grants for the project.

Councilman Matthew Jaworski asked if the project could be piggybacked with another road improvement project to potentially save money. Service Director Ron Strauser advised that the Service Department can probably do between 10% and 20% of the work to save on cost.

The funding for this project has been allocated in the proposed 2023 budget.

Last fall, the city scheduled the Provo House, 28855 Euclid Ave., for demolition as a result of the home remaining underutilized for many years, as well as costing Wickliffe taxpayers thousands for annual upkeep.

The structure had served numerous purposes including as a hotel and, for over 60 years, as the home of the Provo family. However, after many additions were put onto the home, the building itself lost its historical value, said Ward 2 Councilman Randy Gerhardstein.

"Many residents don't know we have a cemetery," said Mayor Joe Sakacs. "It's historical. The founders of Wickliffe, Civil War, World War I and Spanish-American War (soldiers) are there. The aesthetics are changing on the avenue. That's a big part of it, too. We get a lot of 'Euclid Avenue's tired looking.' This is going to add to the aesthetics."

Upon the cemetery project's completion, Gerhardstein hopes more residents become aware of the cemetery and know that it's still functioning.

"It's still a working cemetery where we have room to add columbariums for residents once we get the proper signage and people actually know it's there," he said. "We're hoping some of the longtime residents will take advantage of that.

"It's a beautiful cemetery," he added. "The Service Department takes great care of it and I think a lot of people in Wickliffe have never taken 10 minutes to drive down there, walk it and see the history of the names there."