Mesa will expand its nearly full cemetery next year, allowing more of the departed to spend eternity next to their loved ones - and close to a few notable remains.
The 3-acre expansion will meet demand for several years, said Andrea Moore, a planning and development supervisor. Mesa sells 300 to 450 plots a year.
"We have just over 1,000 plots left, so we're close to being at capacity," Moore said.
By the summer, the cemetery will have more than 1,200 new plots and 360 spaces for infants.
The $745,143 project will begin in a few weeks and expand the cemetery to the north. The cemetery expects to eventually develop eight adjacent acres, adding 6,000 plots.
The cemetery, at 1212 N. Center St., is visible to spring training fans who watch the Chicago Cubs at Hohokam Stadium. Some locally significant and even nationally important people have been buried there since it opened in 1891.
Notable burials include:
• Waylon Jennings, the country western singer and songwriter.
• Ernesto Miranda, the Mesa-born criminal suspect whose 1966 U.S. Supreme Court case resulted in a requirement that police inform individuals of their rights when being arrested.
• John Lee, a western entertainer who popularized the song "Red River Valley."
• Mesa's four founding fathers: Charles Crismon, Frances Pomeroy, Charles Robson and George W. Sirrine.
• Daniel W. Jones, the leader of the 1877 expedition party that settled what is now Mesa.
• Twenty-three Royal Air Force pilots and one U.S. pilot who were killed in accidents at Mesa's Falcon Field while training to fight in World War II. Every year, a service is held the Sunday before Memorial Day to honor the airmen.
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