MAKING ROOM: Marblehead eyes Creesy Street park for veterans cemetery

The town is considering turning a green space and small park on Creesy Street into a new veterans cemetery, according to Cemetery Commissioner Richard Colletti.

“We’ve been looking for additional land for some time now,” Colletti told the Marblehead Current.  “We know the current veterans section at Waterside is going to run out of space in just a short time.”

The 0.75-acre lot on Creesy Street being considered for a new Marblehead veterans cemetery. The parcel is currently undeveloped and requires cleanup work before it can become an operational burial ground.

According to Cemetery Superintendent Catherine Kobialka, there are only about 30 gravesites left in the existing veterans burial ground, located at Waterside overlooking Salem Harbor. “Once those are filled, we’ll have nowhere to put veterans’ remains without the Creesy Street space,” she explained.

Kobialka shared preliminary design plans for the new cemetery.

“I made drawings for a perimeter wall, columbarium [a structure that houses funeral urns containing cremains], memorial walkway and flagpole,” she said. “It would create a beautiful final resting place for veterans.”

The Cemetery Commission recently set aside $25,000 from the sale of unused cemetery blocks to help begin to develop the Creesy Street site when the time is right.

However, the parcel requires preparation before it can become an operational cemetery. “Stumps would need to be ground down and excavation done to shore up the old boundary walls,” Colletti explained.

Kobialka said making Creesy Street a cremation-only cemetery makes sense given its small size.

The entrance to the Creesy Street parcel, looking from Green Street toward the 0.75-acre site being eyed for a new Marblehead veterans cemetery. The adjacent historic Green Street Cemetery can be seen in the background.

“We don’t have a trailer to easily transport excavation machines there,” she said. “So if we only do cremated remains down the road, then we don’t have to dig as deep and can work within the space limitations.”

Kobialka said the proximity to the historic Green Street Cemetery also provides continuity.

The site is named after Capt. Josiah Perkins Creesy. He is celebrated for his record-setting voyages on the Flying Cloud clipper. He completed one journey from New York to San Francisco in just 89 days and 21 hours, a remarkable achievement.

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