GILBERT, Ariz. — Gilbert has a brand new addition that families have been waiting for. The first-ever cemetery is now in progress and open to people looking for a place for people to say goodbye to loved ones.
The Bunker family, of Bunker Family Funeral Homes, hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday to mark the opening of the facility.
Bryce Bunker said phase one of the Gilbert Memorial Park Cemetery is now developed and added that the trends in memorial services have changed over time.
"Now we have the option for them to be here and place their loved ones to rest here in Gilbert," he said.
It's a long-awaited addition to a town of nearly 250,000 people. Bunker said the 10-acre stretch is just the beginning of a 22-acre property.
"The idea behind the first phase was to put as many different memorialization options in place as possible but also allow the flexibility to respond to what the community valued and think that they find valuable to show the people that they value when they pass away," bunker said.
That includes the "Kiva Niche," a pocket of peace as Bunker says, to memorialize a multi-member plaque and place an urn for families.
"In Maricopa County, the cremation rate is 75%, which comes as a surprise to a lot of people," he said.
Along with 3,100 traditional burial plots come places to remember a loved one who may already be buried elsewhere.
"f you want to memorialize them here, you can buy one of these and it will be engraved with whatever inscription you'd like," site staff told 12 News.
There are also 88 indoor glass-front niches available to create a space for someone special so that they may forever rest in peace.
A note from the Bunker Family: "An open house will be held for the public on Saturday, November 16 from 10 am to 1 pm. Tours of the property and funeral home will be available. For more information, please visit www.gilbertmemorialpark.com. "