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Decision nears in College Station cemetery naming

Decision nears in College Station cemetery naming

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It's been almost a decade since the College Station City Council started talking about building an Aggie cemetery, where Texas A&M University graduates and friends could be buried within sight of Kyle Field.

The council unofficially named the new city cemetery Thursday and announced that burial plots can be reserved beginning next week.

The Memorial Cemetery of College Station and the Aggie Field of Honor are planned for 57 acres at the northwest corner of Harvey Mitchell and Raymond Stotzer parkways.

A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled in January, and the first phase of the cemetery will open in September 2008.

"Over the years, there have been lots of points and counterpoints," Mayor Ben White said Thursday. "What excites me is seeing this really come together. This is going to be a destination in our city. People who visit College Station are going to go to the George Bush Library, the Bonfire Memorial and the Aggie Field of Honor."

The council will vote on a resolution authorizing the name for the new cemetery at its first meeting in July, but elected officials agreed Thursday they are comfortable with the Memorial Cemetery and Aggie Field of Honor, names recommended by an advisory committee.

A group of Texas A&M graduates has been lobbying the City Council for about 10 years to create an Aggie-themed cemetery overlooking Kyle Field. About 300 former students and their friends and relatives already have orally committed to buying $1,750 plots in the 20-acre Aggie area of the cemetery.

Burial plots in other sections of the cemetery will be in the range of $850. Project manager Ross Albrecht stressed Thursday that plot prices aren't definite, and will be set once construction costs are known.

The City Council is scheduled to award a construction contract in December.

Some of the proceeds from Aggie burial plots will go toward enhancements for that portion of the cemetery.

A new cemetery is needed because plots in the city's only graveyard - across Texas Avenue from the College Station Police Department - are almost sold out. The new cemetery is projected to meet the city's needs for the next 40 to 50 years, City Manager Glenn Brown said Thursday.

More than 20,000 plots will be available throughout the new cemetery, Albrecht said.

College Station spent about $1.26 million on a master plan for the new facility and about $1.45 million to acquire the land. The projected revenue from plot sales has been estimated at $3.98 million over the first five years of operation, and about $2.8 million for the following five years.

Those who want to reserve a plot may do so beginning Sunday by posting $200 to hold a space. The funds will go toward the price of the plot, or can be refunded later if the space isn't wanted after all.

To reserve a plot, contact Albrecht at 764-3410.

In other matters Thursday:

• The City Council signed an interlocal agreement with Texas A&M University, Brazos County and Bryan to participate in a joint emergency operations center. Each entity will pay about $58,000 to rent and maintain the facility in downtown Bryan.

• The council's newest member, Texas A&M professor John Crompton, requested that the panel discuss economic development at an upcoming workshop.

Crompton asked for a report evaluating the effectiveness of the city's economic development efforts - including projects, expenditures and the outcome of investments - over the past five years.

City Manager Brown said the issue will be placed on the agenda later this summer.

• April Avison's e-mail address is april.avison@theeagle.com.

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