Construction has begun on the first auxiliary site in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery’s long history.
Ascension Garden, a 109-acre facility, is being developed on the northeast corner of Pinnacle and Williams roads in the Town of Henrietta. According to James Weisbeck, Holy Sepulchre’s executive director, the new cemetery will have a potential capacity for more than 100,000 burial spaces. Ascension Garden is due to open in the summer of 2010, at which time burial-site selection will become available to the public.
Current construction projects involve land grading, drainage work and designing an entrance that will feature a decorative stone facade. Among other planned highlights are special sections honoring veterans and emergency-services personnel, as well as a mausoleum.
A key priority for Ascension Garden is to implement extensive landscaping by planting numerous trees and flowers on what is now open land. Weisbeck said the cemetery’s appearance will be patterned after the tranquil atmosphere offered by Holy Sepulchre Cemetery on Rochester’s Lake Avenue.
Weisbeck noted that the name “Ascension Garden” also reflects the serene environment for which Holy Sepulchre is so well-known. He added that this title proved by far to be the most popular choice from hundreds of potential names submitted.
“The word ‘cemetery’ itself is kind of cold. This (name) makes it warmer,” he remarked.
Holy Sepulchre Cemetery purchased the Henrietta property in 2006, but Weisbeck said various legal delays delayed the start of construction for Ascension Garden until December 2008. He noted that only about 30 acres are currently being developed, with the rest of the acreage remaining as farmland until Holy Sepulchre sees a need for further expansion in future years.
Prior to its acquisition of the Henrietta land, Holy Sepulchre’s operation had consisted solely of the 330-acre Lake Avenue site, which opened in 1871 and has since served the Catholic community in Monroe and surrounding counties. However, Weisbeck said the new cemetery in southeast Monroe County is not an indicator that the original facility has reached capacity.
“It’s not a matter of running out of room. There’s space (at Lake Avenue) for probably another 40 to 50 years,” he noted. Instead, the cemetery director said that population shifts dictated that a Catholic cemetery be located in the suburbs for the sake of convenience.
“We saw a need in that part of the county,” he said, adding that Holy Sepulchre is weighing the possibility of acquiring additional suburban auxiliary sites in the future.