Approximately 17 years after it appeared before the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, a cemetery has officially opened on 5.1 acres of Huntington Street, about a half-mile south of Huntington Center.
A ceremony was conducted on Thursday, Sept. 28, to dedicate the property to Royal Wells, who has spent a great deal of time developing within the community and whose family has continued to develop land within the city, and to all other residents who wish to rest eternally in Shelton.
“This is a community for residents’ souls that have passed on,” said attorney Alan Tyma, who led the ceremony.
Royal Wells organized the ceremony, which was attended by generations of the city’s P&Z Commission members, Mayor Mark Lauretti, and some key players in the development of the property.
Royal’s son, Sky, said the opening of the cemetery grounds was very special because he knows all of the work that his dad had put into it.
“It’s been my dad’s dream. The public hearing on this had to be 17 years ago, so having it finally be implemented is just great,” Sky said before the ceremony began.
Royal’s wife, Arlene, said there couldn’t have been a more perfect day for the ceremony.
“I just hope I never have to be here,” said Arlene Wells, joking. “It’s great that everyone managed to show up on this beautiful day. I think the entire property is so nice and well taken care of.”
The dedication and blessing of the grounds was completed, so plots are officially for sale, according to Sky, who said he and his sons maintain the property’s grass.
“This land will be used for 200 years of burying people here,” said Sky, who explained that they want to sell off one parcel at a time. “They don’t want plots scattered all over the property, so one parcel could take up to 50 years to fill and then we’ll fill up the next.”
Lauretti gave a short speech in which he expressed his admiration of what the Wells family had done with the five-acre stretch of land.
“Is this is an example of responsible development or what?” said Lauretti. “In my 26 years, this is the first time I’ve been to an event like this, and I’m glad to be standing on this side of the dirt for it.”
Attorney Tyma piggybacked off Lauretti’s comments and said the development had been a long time coming.
“There’s always some contrariness that people may have, but when you sit down and get reasonable minds to interact, you’ll find solutions,” said Tyma.
Tyma explained that the main goal for the property was to provide a place for members of the community to rest and family and friends to visit. The side of the property that runs parallel to traffic is bordered with a stone wall, which Tyma explained symbolizes something permanent, something strong, a symbol of love and honor.
“It truly is a great wall and a tribute to what Royal Wells is doing for the community,” said Tyma.
The name “Huntington Lawn Cemetery South” will be sandblasted on entrance stones of the property sometime before Thanksgiving.