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Family claims disrespectful conditions at Cleveland-owned cemetery

Posted at 5:52 PM, Apr 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-24 18:18:08-04

CLEVELAND — Families in the Cleveland area are complaining about what they call disrespectful cemetery conditions at Westpark Cemetery.

House Bill 168 passed in October 2018 and calls for more stringent "reasonable maintenance" at 4,100 cemeteries statewide, after growing complaints were sent into Ohio's Cemetery Dispute Resolution Commission.

Chris Eichele flew in to visit his family and his aunt's grave, and was not happy with what he saw on Easter Sunday.

"It was a disaster," he said, describing more of a swamp than a cemetery.

Being hundreds of miles away in North Carolina, he feels helpless. Not sure what to do when his parents pass, he said he certainly won't settle for this.

“I want to feel safe that I can be down here in North Carolina knowing that their grave sites are going to be taken care of. That’s what we pay them to do," he said.

Cleveland Public Safety director Michael Cox said the sloppy messes happen every year because of the weather, and sometimes, there is flooding.

"Naturally when you get snow coverage, like in your front yard, you have to clean it up," Cox said. "But you have to wait until it’s dry.“

As for the headstones, Cox said that is up to families to fix.

The budget for 2019 cemetery operations is $1,768,000 and Cox hopes to have all cemeteries cleaned up by Mother's Day.

First to be cleaned will be the three active cemeteries: Westpark, Highland Park and Memorial Gardens.