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Changes afoot for historic city burial ground

VERGENNES — Vergennes aldermen are asking neighbors and other parties interested in the city’s oldest cemetery to help create a new sign for the historic burial ground, for which the city assumed maintenance responsibilities this year.
An older sign now identifies it as “Vergennes First Cemetery,” and the site, at the end of Mountain View Lane, is commonly known as the First Cemetery or as the Old Cemetery.
Many of the city’s founders are buried there, according to city officials, and Mayor Michael Daniels, a cemetery neighbor, said at the city council’s Sept. 18 meeting that people with far-flung license plates often pull up to visit the site.
“I see a wide variety of people taking information off headstones,” Daniels said.
City Manager Mel Hawley said the members of the group interested in the cemetery said they would like a new sign to read “Vergennes Burial Ground.”
Daniels suggested “Vergennes Burial Ground and First Cemetery,” and Alderwoman Ziggy Comeau said she might prefer to stay with “Vergennes First Cemetery.”
Alderman Bill Benton, however, said the group — including Susan Ferland, whose extensive research helped lead to the city re-assuming maintenance of the cemetery — might have a good reason for its naming preference. It was at his suggestion aldermen invited the interested parties.
“If they recommended that, I’d like to know the background of that recommendation,” Benton said.
All agreed they would like to see the cemetery properly fenced; unlocked during daylight hours, which is not the case now; and adorned with a better sign.
“The main crux of this is we want to get a better sign made,” Daniels said. 

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