“I just love the cemetery,” Crouse said. “A lot of people don’t realize this is not a township cemetery, it’s a private cemetery.”
The private status means that Mount Hope doesn’t receive any tax funds to cover its expenses; instead the board raises money by selling plots. A portion of that money is invested and the rest is used to pay for maintenance. Currently there are not enough funds to maintain the grounds. Crouse has even paid out of his own pocket to cover some things that were needed.
“Right now we’re getting half the interest that we used to get from our investments,” said Bruce Gee, another board member. “At the same time, our mowing costs have increased.”
The growing popularity of cremations and the fact that people generally wait longer to purchase their plots have also dealt a blow to the cemetery’s finances. Therefore, the board has decided to ask the community for help.
“We’re trying to raise money,” said Scott Wallace, also a board member.
“Hopefully we’ll get enough to where we can maintain things.” Hoagland added, “This board is more pro-active than ever before. We’re reaching out not only to people whose family is buried here, but to the whole community.”
The goal of the board, which also includes Doug Shelby, Greg Clingan and Richard Rennick Jr., is to raise $50,000 to take care of the neglected areas.
Aside from addressing the maintenance, Hoagland’s vision for Mount Hope Cemetery includes a new meditation garden, which would create a private space for reflection and a place for families to gather at burial time. Ultimately, the board would like the cemetery to look and feel more like a memorial garden and Hoagland believes the Covington community will step up to help fulfill that vision.