ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – Two historic cemeteries in Roanoke are changing hands, but just whose hands they’ll fall into is still to be determined.
The Fair View Group, who own Fair View Cemetery and Cedar Lawn Memorial Park, is dissolving their non-profit organization on July 1.
Come July, they’ll be turning over both cemeteries along with $3 million in reserves. Fair View did not provide a comment when asked by WFXR but does have documents and information provided on their website. They show that the company has been planning the succession of the cemeteries for 15 years, and their plan now is to give them to Roanoke City.
In addition to the properties and funds, the city would also receive any equipment and staff if they accept the properties.
Fair View’s lawyers pointed out in a recent letter to Mayor Lea that if the city does not accept the cemeteries, the properties will likely end up in the city’s hands as abandoned properties anyway. They’ve asked the city council to hold a public hearing on the topic, saying they believe there will be significant public support.
The city told WFXR that the council has received a letter from Fair View, and both the city manager and attorney are aware of it, but for now, can provide no further comment.
The cemeteries have been around since 1890 and 1930 respectively, serving as the final resting place of 10 mayors and veterans from six different wars.
The Fair View Group says the cemetery business has become more costly and less profitable in recent years, and that the same challenges are being seen across the country. They add that municipal cemeteries are not unique to Roanoke, but can also be seen in Blacksburg, Danville, and several other localities.
The group also says that Fair View and Cedar Lawn will continue to operate normally through June, then it will be up to the new owners. However, they’re assuring that contracts are still secure for any prepaid lots and they do not expect any changes for those with family buried at either cemetery.
You can also sign up for updates from Fair View at The Fair View Group | Management Transfer Plans.