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Most cemeteries could use volunteer help

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In the Sunday (May 26) Watertown Daily Times I read the article about the Kelsey Bridge Cemetery and how Richard Perrigo has voluntarily restored it to excellent condition. He certainly deserves praise for his outstanding work there as a volunteer.

Two outstanding examples of volunteer work in cemeteries are the Watertown City Cemetery on Arsenal Street and State Road (Honeyville) Cemetery between Adams Center and Rodman. Both cemeteries a few years ago were in very poor condition, and in each case one lady volunteered, formed organizations and restored both cemeteries.

Probably all cemeteries over 50 years old have 25 percent and in many cases even more of the burial plots that produce any income even though the whole cemetery has to be maintained.

Up until about 50 years ago the cemetery grave spaces were sold with an annual charge for maintenance, often $1 or $2 for an eight-grave plot. Most of the survivors of those people have either died or moved and no payments are received.

Now New York state cemetery laws require all nonchurch owned cemeteries to place 20 percent of the price of burial plot sales in a permanent maintenance fund, and only the interest from this fund can be used for regular mowing, etc., so labor funds are limited. The people in the older plots made this cemetery nice for us to live in now and deserve well kept cemeteries.

Most cemeteries mow 10 times per year and trim around markers three or four if they have funds. If not the mowing has to suffer.

Please, if you would like to see improvements in your cemetery, volunteer. Mowing is not all that needs doing. Bushes and shrubs need trimming, paint buildings or fences, pick up trash occasionally. Do what you think will help or ask cemetery officers. They are glad to have suggestions and/or help. Work can be done at anytime convenient to your time available. Please volunteer and help. Donations are a big help.

Clarence Sheley

Adams

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