Governor's Office for Local Development
Governor Ernie Fletcher Announces Cemetery Preservation Grant for Lexington Cemetery

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, November 23, 2005  
Contact Information:  Samantha Cook
Public Information Officer

            Governor Ernie Fletcher and the Governor’s Office for Local Development (GOLD) announced today that the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government will receive a $25,000 cemetery preservation grant for restoration activities at the historic Cove Haven Cemetery.

            The cemetery, located at 984 Whitney Avenue, contains the remains of some prominent African-Americans, including Kentucky’s first female licensed medical doctor, Mary Britton; Kentucky’s first female dentist, Lucy Dupey Montz; and prominent stone mason, Nathaniel Guy, whose artistry can be seen in the stone fences at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington and throughout central Kentucky.

GOLD Commissioner Ellen Williams said there is no mistaking Cove Haven’s place in history and in future historic research. “The Cove Haven Cemetery is a treasure that we need to preserve and maintain out of respect and reverence for those who are interred there.”

Grant dollars will be used to landscape and remove dead trees, to pave the cemetery’s interior road, to conduct archival research of the graves and create a computer database.

State Senator Ernesto Scorsone said it’s important to preserve the state’s oldest cemeteries in an effort to preserve history. “Cemeteries provide one more way to research family and state history. It’s imperative that we, as Kentuckians, due our part to preserve and protect our valuable research tools.”

Representative Jesse Crenshaw said, “This cemetery holds many, many stories of Kentucky’s outstanding history. I am thankful that these grant dollars will be used to clean up, preserve and maintain this final resting place of so many prominent Kentuckians.”

             The Kentucky Cemetery Preservation program funds maintenance, preservation and restoration activities.

Examples of eligible activities include initial cleanup and landscaping, purchasing equipment, fencing, signage and improving interior roads. Preservation and restoration activities include acquiring conservation easements, surveying boundaries and repairing and cleaning tombstones.

Other activities that are eligible for funding are historic research, archiving, training to support cemetery preservation and improving access roads.

Counties may establish five-member county cemetery boards to apply for grants. State agencies, local governments, and certain nonprofit organizations – cemeteries, historical and genealogical groups, and local civic groups – also may apply. However, applications from county boards will receive funding priority.

The maximum grant that a group can receive is $25,000 and the minimum grant is $1,000, and a one-to-one local match is required.

A five-member state board oversees the program and makes funding decisions. The state board is comprised of representatives from the Kentucky Heritage Council (KHC), the Kentucky Historical Society, the Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo) and the Kentucky African-American Heritage Commission and chaired by the Commissioner of GOLD.