A low-growing shrub called creeping junipers might be just what the doctor ordered for the steep hills on two sides of the Liverpool Village Cemetery.
At the Dec. 17 meeting of the Village of Liverpool Board of Trustees, Village Cemetery Committee Chairman Mike Romano welcomed three representatives of Environmental Design & Research, a Syracuse-based landscape architectural firm.
The trio of EDR landscapers — Pat Heaton, principal director of cultural resources and landscape architects Steve Breitzka and Doug Gerber — addressed the trustees and answered questions about plans for improvements at the 172-year-old graveyard.
Last January, the village board and 128th District Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter announced that the village had received a $250,000 grant administered through the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) earmarked for cemetery renovations.
The cemetery committee headed by Romano has been meeting for more than four years during which it secured listings for the cemetery on both national and state Registers of Historic Places.
In its discussions about how to spend the state grant money, Romano said the committee is “all about reducing maintenance costs.” For instance, the steep grassy berms on the cemetery’s north and east sides are extremely difficult to maintain, so the committee will recommend a new green vegetation which will not require mowing.
The EDR landscapers suggested a plant called creeping junipers to be grown on the steep slopes along Tulip and Sixth streets. The plant, which grows no higher than 11 inches, is a species named Juniperus horizontalis, nicknamed “blue rug.”
Liverpool resident Lisa Ballantyne — who is a professional horticulturalist — spoke at the meeting to urge the landscapers to vary the plant-life used on the slopes. The EDR officials agreed that adding a couple more plant types could promote biodiversity.
Liverpool Mayor Gary White asked the EDR landscapers to come up with a biodiverse plan complete with prices. “We need real numbers,” White said.
New walkways and granite benches are also being planned at the historic cemetery which was established in 1846, bounded on the east and west by Tulip and Alder streets and by Fifth and Sixth streets on the south and north. Broken gravestones and stone borders will also be restored.
Due to conflicting holidays, the village board will reconvene at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15 and again on Feb. 12, at the Village Hall on Sycamore Street.