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Grantsville residents fight to save historic farm

Published: Friday, May 23 2014 6:05 p.m. MDT

The city of Grantsville wants to use a historic farm to expand a cemetery. Some residents want to save the farm and have the city reconsider its plans. The city says it now has another option, but a decision won't be made until June.

Mark Wetzel, Deseret News

GRANTSVILLE — Residents are upset over cemetery expansion plans that would require demolition of the Clark Historic Farm.

Community members made emotional pleas to the Grantsville City Council on Wednesday, hoping to save the J. Reuben Clark Historic Farm at 378 W. Clark St.

Only a year’s worth of cemetery plots remain in the cemetery. The city is moving forward with a plan to expand across the street, but community members are upset because the historic landmark is in the middle of the new plot.

Lisa Nelson of the Friends of the Clark Historic Park is fighting to preserve the past for the future, including her four children.

“I want them to understand how this community came to be,” Nelson said. “The community has really enjoyed having a place where they can just come and be with their families.”

The farm, built in 1880 by a Swedish immigrant, would hold enough grave plots for about 11 years, according to city estimates.

The original building included contributions from J. Reuben Clark and other early Utah settlers. Once a home for spiritual refuge, the historic farm is now a place for carriage rides, farmers markets and historical education. Around 6,000 people visited the farm last year, generating $17,000 in revenue.

Mayor Brett Marshal said the city decided to expand on the farm four years ago when there was nowhere else to build. Now that’s not the case.

Across the street from the cemetery are 3 acres of prime land the city purchased last fall — land that has no planned use. The new piece of land would hold about 30 years’ worth of plots.

“I would like it here,” said Rava Jiles, a neighbor of the new city land. “The graveyard has never bothered us on that side, so I’m sure it would never bother us on this side.”

The council will discuss whether to change the cemetery expansion to the new land or maintain the plan to use the farm site. No decision will be made until June, when the city’s budget is finalized.

Email: ddolan@deseretnews.com

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