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State funds might help with cemetery maintenance

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    Elyria maintenance crews mow the lawn at Brookdale Cemetery on June 19.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE FILE

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ELYRIA — If Gov. John Kasich signs into law legislation to help offset the cost of operating a city’s cemeteries, Mayor Holly Brinda said Elyria will apply for funding.

Brinda said Monday that it looks like Elyria could be eligible for the funding, but she will have to look further into the specifics of House Bill 168, which provides local government funding to the 2,400 public cemeteries across Ohio that are managed by townships, villages and municipalities.

Inspired by the Ohio Cemetery Task Force Report and expanding upon House Bill 395 from last General Assembly, the bill updates cemetery law to ease the burden on local governments. The bill details an offer of $100,000 in grants each year for maintenance and repairs.

State Rep. Dick Stein, R-Norwalk, championed the bill as a way to honor the final resting place of Ohioans.

“I am pleased to announce that House Bill 168 has passed out of the Senate and is headed for the governor’s signature,” Stein said. “I am grateful for the support of my colleagues in both chambers to get HB 168 enacted in one year. I look forward to working with our local governments to implement these grants to improve our community cemeteries.”

Stein worked closely with the Township Association, Cemetery Association, Catholic Cemeteries and Funeral Directors Association to compose provisions to assist in better cemetery management.

Other components of the bill include provisions to allow the Division of Cemeteries to begin receivership protocols for private abandoned cemeteries and require registered cemeteries to maintain complete digital or physical records of those interred.

This year, Elyria’s maintenance capacity for the city’s three cemeteries came under fire with residents complaining of high grass and overgrown plots at Ridgelawn, Brookdale and Murray Ridge Road cemeteries.

The breaking point came last month when residents took the liberty of going over to Ridgelawn with push lawn mowers to cut the grass.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.


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