ST. GEORGE — With cemetery space in St. George shrinking, the St. George City Council has approved the purchase of land to expand the Tonaquint Cemetery.
“Tonaquint Cemetery is, frankly, highly desirable, and people are buying those plots and it’s filling up,” St. George Mayor Jon Pike said Thursday at the City Council meeting, which was held at the St. George Regional Airport in order to also participate in a ribbon cutting in celebration of the opening of a new flight route to Dallas-Fort Worth.
The council approved the purchase of a 4-acre parcel of land along Dixie Drive that sits in front of the Tonaquint Cemetery for $1.7 million. It was originally being sold as commercial property.
“We felt we needed to own that for the expandability of the cemetery,” Pike said.
Shane McAffee, the city’s leisure services director, told St. George News that burial plots in the downtown cemetery along Tabernacle Street and University Avenue/700 South sold out two years ago, and upright plots at Tonaquint have also sold out.
“It’s important that we expand the cemetery, because based on the current population forecast … we’ll run completely out of burial plots in the next four to five years,” McAffee said, adding that having the additional land purchased by the city will help alleviate the pending lack of space facing the cemetery.
The city is also in the process of building a cremation garden and related facilities at the Tonaquint Cemetery to accommodate those who choose cremation over burial.
In other business, the City Council participated in the ribbon cutting in recognition of the new flight route and, along with other officials, greeted the passengers disembarking the first flight to St. George from Dallas-Fort Worth, the fifth destination the airport offers through SkyWest Airlines and its connections through United, American and Delta airlines.
In addition to celebrating the new route, Thursday also marked the reopening of the entire airport after being closed for four months due the reconstruction of the runway.
Thursday’s City Council meeting also saw the return of Councilwoman Michele Randall, who has been absent from the council for four weeks following surgery for breast cancer.
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