City of Conway-run cemeteries are almost out of space

Grand Strand

CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — The City of Conway has stopped pre-selling cemetery plots for the living in Rosehill Memorial Gardens.

There are only 150 remaining plots in the cemetery, according to the city. More than 1,600 people are buried there, dating back at least 80 years.

A plot at the cemetery, which is located on Grainger Road, costs $500. 

The plots are being sold “as needed,” according to Timmy Williams, the grounds and maintenance director for the City of Conway. He said that 25 are currently on hold by people who pre-purchased one, but that the city is now only selling the plots after someone dies.

“If you need one, we are going to sell you one,” Williams said.

There is still space in the cemetery’s cremation garden.

The city runs two cemeteries — Rosehill Memorial Gardens, and Lakeside Cemetery, located on Lakewood Avenue.

All plots at Lakeside Cemetery have been sold. There are more than 1,600 people buried in the cemetery, with some graves dating back to the 1800s.

Williams said he doesn’t expect the city to buy new cemeteries, sell them or expand them. “The city isn’t really in the cemetery business,” he said. 

Williams said Conway took over Rosehill Memorial Gardens from funeral homes after it found out that the homes weren’t disclosing that people were being buried there. At the time, remains were being buried on top of each other. 

Now, the city manages both cemeteries, cutting the grass twice a month during the season, planting flowers and maintaining shrubbery. Flowers are removed after about a month. 

Maintaining the cemeteries takes a significant amount of manpower from the city. Depending on how many people are assigned, it can take four employees to cut grass in one day. At Lakeside, it takes between four to six employees to cut the grass over two days.

Williams points to a special project to honor John and Jane Does that the city partnered with the county coroner’s office to do a handful of years ago. Williams said the city donated a plot for dozens of unidentified people to have their cremains in.

“It was a big thing for Conway that day,” he said. 

The city is also soliciting donations for a decorative brick wall project at Lakeside Cemetery. Williams said that the city talked about creating a brick fence across the front of the cemetery about two years ago. If someone sponsors a section of the fence, they can get a name placed on the wall.

Donations for the wall can be sent to the City of Conway finance department, or by calling (843) 488-1777. The city is also accepting donations to help maintain Rosehill Memorial Gardens. 

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