When he took over as Springdale’s general manager, Mark Matuszak did a thorough assessment of the cemetery’s pros and cons. It quickly became clear that the positives—especially Springdale’s history and beauty—far outweighed the negatives.
“But if the place doesn’t make a good first impression, who wants to be associated with it?” Matuszak says. “We needed an entrance that reflected what was inside the gates.”
On August 4, 2017, 163 years to the day after Springdale’s site was proposed during a public meeting at the Peoria County Courthouse, Matuszak’s vision became a reality.
Community leaders and residents gathered to dedicate the cemetery’s beautiful new entrance on Prospect Road—and together recommitted to protecting and preserving Peoria’s grand cemetery for the next century and beyond.
The result of two years of fundraising, planning and construction, the entrance features a flower-filled island, decorative fencing and stone columns mimicking the columns that flanked the cemetery’s original entrance on Perry Avenue.
“What used to be a drive-by is now a slow-down-and-look entrance,” Matuszak says.
The project, which cost just under $250,000, was funded primarily by private donations to the Springdale Historic Preservation Foundation.
“This was the largest outlay of money for a single project to date at the cemetery,” Matuszak says. “It was all possible thanks
to collaboration between the Foundation, the Springdale Cemetery Management Authority, cemetery staff and a number of local organizations.”
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