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Residents complain about condition of Resthaven cemetery

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    Resthaven Memory Gardens is seen Feb. 15.



AVON — Residents are outraged by what they say is the poor condition of Resthaven Memory Gardens.

The city, which does not own or control the cemetery, has been fielding complaints that elevated in February about the cemetery at 3700 Center Road. The complaints cited puddles of water and wet, unstable ground, according to city officials.

In addition to complaining to the city, a Facebook group was created Feb. 26 dedicated to residents’ concerns with the condition of the cemetery. The group, called “Rescuing Resthaven Cemetery,” is a group of nearly 200 members.

“Headstones falling down, graves completely under water, graves collapsing in on themselves from the water,” said one of the page’s administrators, Katie Hildebrand, in a public Facebook post. “It’s like something out of a horror movie.”

The group has a set of goals to build a relationship with the management of the cemetery, report its progress and be a forum for the community to voice their concerns.

Avon officials met with the owner of the property, StoneMor, about the condition of the cemetery last week. The issue, according to Council President Craig Witherspoon, is a problem with the drainage on the property.

Avon Mayor Bryan Jensen said the cemetery should not have gotten this way in the first place.

“We didn’t think they were doing the best practices as a cemetery, and we expressed those concerns,” Jensen said.

Jensen said StoneMor officials assured that fixing the drainage is a priority and have promised to put out cameras near draining areas to make sure they can monitor areas that flood and step in as needed. Jensen said he doesn’t think the issue is completely resolved, but believes things are changing.

Following the meeting, Witherspoon said he felt confident that an understanding was reached to fix the problem.

“They were very interested in listening to our concerns,” Witherspoon said. “The cemetery is a very important part of the city, and we want to keep it that way.”

StoneMor declined to comment on the situation. StoneMor is a company based in Pennsylvania, managing 322 cemeteries and funeral home properties across the country including 27 states as well as Puerto Rico.

Contact Bruce Walton at 329-7123 or bwalton@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Facebook @BWalton440 or Twitter @BruceWalton.

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