Grounds & Maintenance
The City of Mount Airy Parks and Recreation Grounds Maintenance Division sets our city apart from others its size. How many others with a population of 10,000 offers 6.6 miles of greenways, 7 parks, 8 ball fields and plantings of over 12,000 annuals in public landscape beds? We are proud to hear comments from citizens and visitors alike about how flowers, parks and greenways make them feel welcomed and appreciated. People are attracted to attractive places. People are attracted to places they can use. We celebrate the use of our parks, greenways and cemetery. In the Grounds Maintenance Division, we make a statement: someone cares about this place! We all unite in wanting someone to care about us. People feel better about themselves and their community when they are surrounded by beautiful plants and clean usable parks. The Grounds Maintenance Division encourages citizens to get outside – enjoy changing seasons, tall trees, birds, flowers, bees and butterflies. Play pickle ball, fish, kayak, bike and walk your dog. We believe in the powerful connection between people and nature and are excited to be a part of what links the two together in our city.
Michella J. Huff is the Grounds & Maintenance/ Cemetery Supervisor. She also serves as staff liaison to the Appearance Commission and the Cemetery Commission. She is responsible for selling grave plots as well as laying off plots. The city also has a 68-niche columbarium that can hold cremation remains. View costs of plot / niche here.
Divisions & Staff
The City of Mount Airy Grounds & Maintenance Department consists of the following divisions:
There are 6 full time employees including Supervisor, Michella Huff, in the Grounds & Maintenance Department with five seasonal positions during the growing/mowing season. This department also serves the 12-member Appearance Commission and the Cemetery Commission.
The Beautification Division is responsible for planting and maintaining various city-owned lots. They also plant and maintain 76 downtown hanging baskets, 42 planters, 14 half baskets and hayracks, and 28 beds throughout the city. Each year the division plants over 7,000 annuals. The hanging baskets take a lot of care and maintenance with over 800 hours spent on them each season. The baskets are placed on the street in mid-May and removed in mid-October. This division is responsible for keeping the streets and sidewalks clear of weeds as well.
For all Oakdale Cemetery matters please contact Michella Huff at 336-786-8313 or email@example.com. We have standard plots for sale as well as columbarium niches and mausoleums. Standard in ground burial plots are $1,500 each. Columbarium niches are $1,000 each for a single urn or $1,500 for a double urn interment. Mausoleums are $6,500 per crypt for the front side and $5,500 per crypt on the back side. For the columbarium and mausoleum, all prices include etching of the cover and opening and closing fees.
The Mowing Division is responsible for keeping city rights of way clear by way of bush hog, sidearm, and other tractor-type mowing. They also maintain numerous city-owned properties as well. These employees are responsible for mowing overgrown lots that may be abandoned by notice from the codes officer. The mowing division clears overhanging limbs and other plant material from street sidewalks so that visibility is not a problem.
Taphophillia – A Love of Cemeteries
Mount Airy Parks and Recreation hosted the North Carolina Recreation Resources Services Annual Cemetery Conference on December 6th and 7th, 2018. Representatives from all over the state and various municipalities enjoyed two days of lectures and discussions on all things cemetery. You may ask yourself, “who would find that interesting?” It was a very enlightening two days as many folks shared all that happens in cemeteries all over the state of North Carolina. They shared different marketing tools and exciting events that are held in their cemetery! Yes, I said events! Cemeteries are truly fascinating places and outdoor museums.
Did you know that the oldest park was a cemetery? In the 1820’s America’s cities had a problem: People kept dying and church burial grounds were filling up. Fortunately, a group of horticulturists in Massachusetts had a solution and in 1831, Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge became the first modern cemetery. Other cities began to follow suit, dedicating rolling scenic tracts of land on the outskirts of town to honor the deceased. This “rural cemetery” or “garden cemetery” movement not only temporarily solved the problem of where to put the dead, but it also gave us the nation’s very first parks. Today, the practice of using cemeteries for outdoor recreation is bubbling up once more, as urban dwellers seek out more nature in the city. Even though Mount Airy is a small town, I always see multiple walkers each time I visit the cemetery during the day. That can be on a hot summer day or a snowy morning. There are always people enjoying this peaceful place.
One speaker from Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh was so excited to come to Mount Airy because she was eager to see the grave of the original Siamese Twins. As a child growing up in Missouri she was fascinated with the story of Eng and Chang Bunker and was thrilled to find that Louise Bunker Haynes was buried in her cemetery in Raleigh. She woke early on December 7th in order to make a quick run to White Plains Baptist Church Cemetery to visit the grave of the twins. Oakwood highlights notable people that are buried in their cemetery and Louise Bunker Haynes is listed on their brochure. In reading the new book about the Siamese Twins, Eng & Chang, From Siam to Surry by Melvin Miles, I discovered that Rosella Virginia Bunker Ashby and Margaret Elizabeth Bunker Haynes, both daughters of Chang and Eng Bunker are buried in Oakdale Cemetery.
In every discussion during those two days many unique events were shared to get people, live people, in the cemetery. There were 5k runs, flashlight tours, candlelight services, garden tours, Walktober Contest and on and on. The purpose you ask? Having events and people in your cemetery helps you give back to your community and keeps extra eyes on your area. Cemeteries such as Oakdale are gifts to our heritage and our rich history. I want to reach out to photographers, artists, archivists, historians, genealogoists, garden and bird enthusiasts in Mount Airy to help us make Oakdale a place to cherish and enjoy. Each cemetery represented got its start with a group of enthusiastic volunteers eager to delve into the history and notables that are interred therein. I am asking if anyone would have that interest and would be willing to share any pertinent information about Oakdale or the Old Methodist Cemetery. I want to record any information and have a few meetings each year in conjunction with the City of Mount Airy Cemetery Commission to share this knowledge. Please call Reeves Community Center at 336-786-8313 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any information or would like to become a volunteer to help with research into history. I am so eager to begin this research but time limits how much I can do. I look forward to hearing from anyone who could aide in the research and time.