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Lawrence Cemetery Overrun By Brush, Grass, Weeds

By Peg Rusconi, WBZ-TV
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Bellevue Cemetery in Lawrence

Bellevue Cemetery in Lawrence

LAWRENCE (CBS) — Jeannine Murphy made a Memorial Day visit to her husband Robert’s grave, in a well-tended veterans’ section of Bellevue Cemetery in Lawrence.

“It’s nice if people keep it up, especially when the grass is mowed,” she said.

“This is a high profile area along the side of the road, and we try to keep it looking good,” said cemetery superintendent Tom Ferris. But Ferris said the rest of this historic cemetery has been hard to maintain.

Weeds overshoot many headstones. In some areas, stones dating back to the 1800’s are all but submerged in brush.

WBZ-TV’s Peg Rusconi reports.

Said Ferris, “We mow all around the headstones, but the problem is I don’t have the manpower to trim around them mechanically between each and every one of these stones so the grass has grown rather high.”

As with other municipal budgets in this cash-strapped city, Ferris says the cemetery lost a quarter of its budget and one of its three fulltime workers.

Tay Coleman, visiting the cemetery with his mother, isn’t buying it.

“There is no excuse for this because my family, which has been in here for five generations paid for perpetual care.”

But Larry West of the Lawrence Civil War Memorial Guard said Bellevue isn’t alone.

“They’re no different in Lawrence than in many cemeteries. The budgets have been cut.”

West encourages people to volunteer their time, something Tom Ferris welcomes.

Said Ferris, “Get a lot of complaints this time of year and they’re legitimate. People don’t like to see it like this and I don’t like to see it like this.”

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