The New Albany Cemetery Restoration Advisory Board is finishing work on one local cemetery and preparing to turn its attention to another.

CORRECTION: The estimated cost of $45,000 by Gravestone Transformations is for cleaning, resetting and repairing (where needed) all 145 markers at Wagnor Cemetery. Because of a reporter's error, the extent of work and number of markers were reported inaccurately.

The New Albany Cemetery Restoration Advisory Board is finishing work on one local cemetery and preparing to turn its attention to another.

Brian Zets, chairman of the advisory board, said board members are preparing to apply by July to the Ohio History Connection for a marker that would detail a brief history of the New Albany Cemetery, which was created in 1854 and is adjacent to New Albany Village Hall, 99 W. Main St., on the edge of Rose Run.

"I think that cemetery deserves that historical marker," he said.

Several of the area's first residents are believed to be buried at the cemetery, also informally known as the Old Burying Ground.

The city spent $17,000 restoring monuments at the cemetery. Much of the restoration work was completed by fall 2018.

The cemetery restoration began in 2016, when Columbus-based Ohio Valley Archaeology did a minor excavation to the cemetery and found headstones beneath the ground's surface.

Board members have also proposed that a fence be built around the cemetery's perimeter as part of the second phase of the city's Rose Run project, Zets said.

The Rose Run revitalization project has focused both on the park and stream corridor that bear that name.

The Rose Run stream runs mostly parallel to Dublin-Granville Road through New Albany.

The park is south of Dublin-Granville Road, and the revitalization project has increased access to it.

A central component of the improvements is a 34-foot bridge and promenade that connects the New Albany-Plain Local School District campus on the north side of Dublin-Granville to the New Albany branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library and Market Square to the south.

A second phase of the project will include an area north of Village Hall Road, south of Dublin-Granville Road, east of Main Street and west of Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road.

The city will begin design for the second phase of the Rose Run project this year, said Mayor Sloan Spalding.

"The cemetery will be a focal point of it," he said.

As for the other cemetery, Spalding said, Zets delivered a presentation to New Albany City Council in early November about a similar project at the Wagnor Cemetery at Central College and Cedar Brook roads.

The proposal, he said, was fair and reasonable and should proceed after financial logistics are worked through.

"It was well-received," Spalding said.

City spokesman Scott McAfee said nothing was appropriated for the Wagnor Cemetery in this year's city budget, but council approval for an appropriation for the project would be likely.

Approximately 145 grave markers are at Wagnor Cemetery, Zets said.

Gravestone Transformations, which worked on the New Albany Cemetery, estimated 46 markers are in need of repair, he said. All are in need of some cleaning and care, he said.

Gravestone Transformations estimated that it would cost about $45,000 to clean, reset and repair (where needed) the 145 markers at the cemetery, Zets said.

The advisory board is in the process of determining what else could be improved at the site, he said.

Former mayor and advisory board member Nancy Ferguson said the Wagnor Cemetery was founded when settlers started coming to the area in the early 1800s.

By the 1830s, small communities started being formed, she said. Before the village of New Albany was founded, a town existed at Central College Road and state Route 605, she said.

The earliest stone in the cemetery is from 1812, Ferguson said.

A log building was built on the site of the cemetery and was used as a school and church, and community members began burying people around it, she said.

Visitors to the cemetery might notice an open space in the middle of the site where the building used to be, and the markers face that space, Ferguson said.

Mark Smith of Gravestone Transformations said based on the conditions he observed in September, he estimated the cemetery had 145 gravestones. Of that total, about 46 were broken and would need repaired and reset.

"The remaining stones should only need to be cleaned and reset, although sometimes we discover others when we excavate the known ones; this happened at the New Albany Cemetery," he said.

If the city moves forward with the project, it should take three to four months to complete, Smith said.

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