Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of the Friends of Mount Auburn A Modern Vision for an Historic Cemetery - Page 6

Rendering courtesy of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. The Hazel Path Woodland Sanctuary By David P. Barnett, President & CEO For the past 25 years, the staff and Truste e s of Mount Auburn Cemetery have been following the guiding principles of the 1993 Master Plan, which were intended to ensure a strong future for Mount Auburn as both an active cemetery and a vibrant cultural institution. While many refinements to our goals and strategic vision have been made over the years in reaction to changes in societal attitudes toward death and other external pressures, one thing that has not changed is our commitment, articulated in the Master Plan, that “Preservation and enhancement of the landscape will come first in all future decisions regarding cemetery development.” That commitment has remained fast even as we have designed and implemented new interment space projects year after year. The latest project, under construction over the summer and fall of 2018, will continue our efforts to develop new burial space in a way that preserves, and in fact enhances, our historic landscape. Hazel Path, which traverses the steep, east-facing slope just below Washington Tower, is being transformed into a “woodland sanctuary” that con- nects the Consecration Dell woodland to the wildflower meadow surrounding the Tower. It will continue our efforts to improve the wildlife habitat value of the landscape and to be a model of environmental stewardship, and at the same time it will provide new cremation burial space. 4 | Sweet Auburn As Cemetery Vice President Bree Harvey explained in the previous article, our new crematory and expanded facilities at Bigelow Chapel have been designed to meet the needs of our community as the percentage of people choosing cremation continues to grow. Being able to meet the in- creasing demand for the burial of cremated remains and the memorialization of those interred will also be important to Mount Auburn’s future as an active cemetery. The Hazel Path development is an important part of that future. We are pleased to be working with Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) on the project. Over the past two years, we have been collaborating with Michael and his team, led by Laura Solano, to develop an exciting conceptual design and then move through the design development and construction documents phases. After our great experience working with MVVA on the renovation of Harvard Hill—just below the Tower at the foot of Hazel Path—it was a natural extension of that work to move up the hill. We “broke ground” the first week of June, and construction will continue through this fall, with comple- tion of the plantings scheduled for early spring of 2019. We are also pleased to be working once again with RP Marzilli & Co. on the installation, after our successful collaboration on the renovation of Asa Gray Garden.