The Western Illinois University Foundation is donating a two-acre site to the city of Macomb. The plot is along West Adams Street, just south of the Old Macomb Cemetery.
Now that aldermen agreed during their June 18 meeting to accept the land, the McDonough County Historical Society can develop it into an entryway for the cemetery.
President Gordana Rezab told aldermen the Historical Society has consulted with landscape specialists who suggested creation of a wooded area and a restored prairie.
“Its development would not only beautify the approach to the university and the city in general but, above all, it would enhance the spiritual experience of the Old Macomb Cemetery,” Rezab said while reading a prepared statement to aldermen.
She said ownership of the land would revert back to the WIU Foundation if development plans fail to materialize
Tom Green, who is one the landscape specialists consulted about the project, praised the Historical Society's plans.
“Conceptually what I see there is a gemstone. It's an asset,” Green said. “I see tremendous potential for this site here and see that, with the proper landscaping, maintenance can be minimized, particularly the mowing.”
But Fifth Ward Alderman Dave Dorsett disagreed. He cited maintenance concerns after casting the only vote against accepting the land donation.
“At some point we simply have to acknowledge that there is ramifications for our budget, ramifications for our public works department,” Dorsett said.
“I have not been happy with the way the particular project has been moved forward. I believe the council, frankly, has been backed into a corner on this.”
The city already maintains the cemetery grounds.