DEPEYSTER, N.Y. (WWNY) - Fawn Youngs of Heuvelton has trod the path often. But on Memorial Day there was no path. She made her way to her mother’s grave with a weed wacker.
“My son came with me to help take care of it and he was very upset. He said, ‘Grandma don’t deserve this. She don’t deserve to be treated like this,’” she said.
Fawn cried. Since then, someone has cut a path. A few families mow the plots of recently lost loved ones.
The town historian puts flags at veterans’ graves, but the rest of the East Road Cemetery in DePeyster has gone to seed.
This is not a problem just in DePeyster. It’s a problem throughout the county and the state – small, rural cemeteries basically going out of business.
Legally, East Road Cemetery belongs to a local private association. But practically, it has been abandoned for years. The town wants some former association members or anyone with loved ones there to step forward.
“We want them to go to the state, form an active board and go from there,” said Irene Hargrave, DePeyster town supervisor.
Town officials think the solution can be found at Purmort Cemetery. An active association maintains it. It gets some income from the town and some from donations.
“They’ve been very active over the years and kept it groomed and the town board now works with them,” said Hargrave.
State law basically forces the town to take over abandoned cemeteries. But that means plots cannot be sold anymore.
Hargrave says they want to keep East Road Cemetery from meeting that fate.