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Linden Grove Cemetery to Get Facelift, Sell More Plots

Plans and funds are coming together for an improved Linden Grove Cemetery, home to veterans of American conflicts from the War of 1812 onward as well as many famous names in the area such as Speaker of the House and Treasury Secretary John G. Carlisle and three other US Congressmen. The Friends of Linden Grove hope the planned improvements will bolster the cemetery's standing as important green space in the urban core. "We've been gathering momentum in the last seventeen years in recognizing it as not only an important piece of history but also as an environmental issue for the community," said Peter Nerone, a director at the cemetery. "Cemeteries never were a place for the dead, they don't care. It's a place for the living."
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Recently Linden Grove scores $30,000 in grants ($20K from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation and $10K from the Haile Foundation) to restore the cemetery's pond. Underneath this pond an artesian spring runs, which is why, according to Nerone, the Bavarian Brewery decided to locate nearby back in the nineteenth century. That water will be tapped to enhance the gardening efforts with more flowers and shrubs. Construction on that project will start in the spring and once that is complete a new vehicle entrance will be added off thirteenth street to offer more access to visitors.
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There will also be more room for future permanent visitors. At least two-thousand plots for graves will be sold and the money earned from those sales will be put into an endowment for perpetual care of the cemetery ensuring that Linden Grove will not be ignored as it had been for decades. Originally created by the Western Baptist Theological Seminary in 1843, it remained in a state of limbo once the seminary went away. In 1998, concerned neighbors revived an old lawsuit that had forced the cemetery into receivership and a Kenton County Judge called together leaders from the City and the County, deciding that it was the responsibility of the local governments to take care of the property, explained John Dietz, another director at the cemetery.
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Now the City and County have an inter-local agreement and a board of directors is appointed. It is the work of members of that board, like Nerone and Dietz, that have spearheaded the fight to revive this important piece of Covington history and green space. More improvements will include new landscaping, restoration and maintenance of headstones, new pedestrian gateways, development of columbarium monuments, wi-fi access in the cemetery, decorative sections (including brick-pavers, dedicated benches, and memorial walls), new drinking fountains, new pathway lighting, and building a shelter for events and services.
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Covington philanthropist Oakley Farris has commissioned a bronze statue in memory of his brother Clofus Farris who was killed in the waning days of the Korean War. Clofus Farris had been posthumously awarded a silver star for gallantry as he was credited with the saving the lives of most of the men in his platoon but was gunned down while going for help from United Nations soldiers. Oakley Farris (who is also responsible for Covington bronze statues of Frank Duveneck, Andrew Carnegie, General Covington, and Abraham Lincoln) wants the monument for his brother to be part of a larger Korean War memorial. Nerone said that the statue will likely be unveiled on Memorial Day next year. 
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PHOTO: Rendering of what Linden Grove may look like with its proposed improvements.