Williamston Township, Ingham County, Michigan Summit Cemetery Master Plan and Landscape Design

Williamstown Township had identified the need to review its existing cemetery’s capacity and devise a plan to accommodate the future needs of this growing bedroom community.

Established in the 1800’s, Summitt Cemetery held links to the community’s history. Traditional plots arranged in a gridded row formation were identified with monuments – both large and small. Williamstown Township faced a dilemma when the discovery of a high water table deemed the remaining expansion area of 5 1/2 acres as unsuitable for traditional vault burial. McKenna researched comparable cemeteries in the area to identify their capacity to meet projected needs for Williamstown Township’s Summitt Cemetery based on demands and forecasted entombments. McKenna planners investigated methods of entombment and introduced natural burial as an option that would allow use of the remaining land within the cemetery. McKenna developed a master plan illustrating the potential layout of the natural burial option in concert with the extension of the traditional grid layout. McKenna also identified efficient operations and how maintenance of the cemetery could be reduced by naturalizing the area.

Special features included an introduction of an alternate method of entombment utilizing available property that could not be used under tradition vault burial. As a result of the plan, Williamstown Township was better prepared to meet the future cemetery needs of its community.