GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The availability of burial plots just expanded for Gulfport residents. The city's newest cemetery addition has added 472 new plots.
The Evergreen Garden Cemetery opened in the 1950s. Since then, the City of Gulfport has overseen its day-to-day operations.
"We maintain the cemetery very well with the people that we have and the equipment that we have, and we do the best job possible, and we try to meet the needs of the citizens," said Special Events Coordinator Brittany Dyess.
Those needs include making plots available for citizens to purchase. Over the past year, Dyess was made aware that plot availability was dwindling.
"We were down in the 20s, and so we said, 'Oh no, we need to start looking to expand,'" said Dyess
There were a couple of options that the city explored. One included creating new plots on the north side of the Pine Ridge Gardens Cemetery. Cemetery manager Gregory Whitfield knew that would take too much time to prepare, because the area was heavily wooded and required extensive work just to ready it for burials.
"So, we decided to expand in the front knowing that it would just take a few months to get these in operation," said Whitfield.
According to Whitfield, this area on the south side of the cemetery was already prepped for burial plots, which cut down on the time and price of the expansion.
The $15,000 addition gave the cemetery 472 new available plots. Whitfield said it's good knowing that there is still extra room to expand on the north side.
"Expanding here in the front, this is pretty much a temporary fix, because sooner or later, we will have to expand in the back," said Whitfield.
It may only take three or four years for this newest addition to run out of room, according to Whitfield. For the time being, he's glad that there are options for citizens.
"We're just excited that we're able to provide a service for them, and they can have spaces for their loved ones to be buried," said Whitfield.
The new plots can be purchased for $500 a space by residents of the city.