Upkeep for cemetery has growing concerns - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Upkeep for cemetery has growing concerns

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June 22, 2006

Albany -- Most of us have made the sad trek to a cemetery for the funeral of a friend or loved one. For some, visits to cemeteries are a regular part of their lives. And one Albany woman says overgrown grass and weeds have taken over parts of the cemetery. Things are looking better now that she has filed a complaint with the city.

When Barbara Solomon came to visit her parents graveside on Father's Day, it wasn't a pretty sight. The grass at the cemetery was up to a foot tall, and there was an ant bed on her father's plot.

"My family believes in family. And their gravesite is sacred," said Solomon.

She went to the gravesite with a weedwacker and cleaned up her parent's plot herself. After that she filed a complaint with city officials and the parks and recreation department, who handles the cemetery's upkeep. Much of the cemetery was trimmed down.

Even though the grass where Solomon's parents are buried has been cut, there are some parts of the cemetery with overgrown grass and weeds, up to 12 inches tall in some places.

The cemetery maintence crew informed her that different sections of the cemetery are cut every three weeks. But says that is not often enough during summer.

"They only have six employees, four lawnmowers and they're doing all the public parks plus the cemetery. That's not going to work, they need more money and more people," said Solomon.

Solomon wants proper respect for those who've passed on. Not just for her parents, but other families as well. That entails a well-kept grounds.

"If the cemetery is not kept up, especially on holidays, when people are coming in and out it makes Albany look bad. It really does," said Solomon.

The cemetery is a place families come to honor loved ones, and a place Solomon says the city should keep looking nice.

Parks and Recreation Department director Ken Williams says different sections of the cemetery are cut daily, and it usually takes about three weeks to get back to a particular section. Williams says they are cutting the grass as often as they can with the staffing of the department.

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