Sidewalk paving is just the most recent sign of changes occurring at Alta Vista Cemetery in Gainesville.
For the past year and a half, the cemetery has been combining efforts with the Col. William Candler chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution to make improvements to a historical lot.
Mindy Wade, current treasurer for the DAR, said the chapter’s upcoming 100-year anniversary in March is the catalyst for the changes.
“We thought it would be a good time to take a look in the cemetery and spruce it up,” Wade said. “The DAR ladies have held the deed to that section of the cemetery, as near as I can find in the records, almost 100 years.”
With the DAR working alongside cemetery manager Tommy Hunt and a number of other organizations, the lot has undergone a variety of improvements.
“We’ve had a lot of interaction with city groups. They have been very willing to help in this situation,” said Hunt. She called the DAR, “a tremendous group of ladies to work with and wonderful to help out.”
Both Hunt and Wade spoke of donations from Candler Concrete of Gainesville, which provided concrete for the new sidewalk, as well as Garden Harmony Designs of Flowery Branch, which provided a landscaping design at no cost.
City of Gainesville departments have contributed to the project as well. The street department provided labor, installing concrete for the sidewalk, they said, with the traffic department and cemetery sign shop planning to create signage to identify the lot once renovations have been completed. Public utilities installed a water source.
“It’s been such a great project because everyone is working together, and I love a collaborative effort,” Wade said. “We could not have done this without the help of the cemetery and the city.”
The cemetery also plans to relocate a World War I monument honoring the fallen soldiers of Hall County to a new concrete pad.
“The main goals of the DAR are historic preservation, education and patriotism,” Wade said. “This cemetery project for us kind of encompasses all of that. Obviously historic preservation as the cemetery is on the National Historic Registry — so from that perspective, it’s wonderful. Education, because we want everyone to be educated about the fact that there are Revolutionary War soldiers located in that plot, as well as the World War I monument.
“And of course, patriotism. Everything the DAR stands for is patriotism.”
The goal for completion is next spring, with the DAR hoping to celebrate its anniversary with the finished renovations. The continuing improvements are on schedule, with plans next week to plant trees and shrubs.
Wade added that in the spring, Hall County Master Gardener Extension volunteers will assist the DAR planting flowers.
“It’s a whole other organization (to help us)” she said.