‘It’s just disrespectful:’ Overgrown, unmaintained cemetery in Marlin upsets former residents; the city responds to the lack of care


MARLIN, Texas (KWTX) – A former resident of Marlin went to Marlin Calvary Cemetery on Thursday morning to check the graves of his loved ones when he saw extremely tall grass covering headstones throughout the cemetery.

“It’s sad,” said Jay Grams. “It’s pathetic and disrespectful to people who have bought plots or rested here.”

He said Monday was a special day for his girlfriend and she wanted to pay tribute to her parents who are buried there.

“I’m cleaning up for my girlfriend, her family’s yard, so she can come on a special day, and the grass isn’t chest high,” Grams said.

He took his weedkiller to the cemetery to clean his parents’ graves on Friday morning. He wanted to make sure she would be able to see the headstone and walk to the grave without walking through tall grass.

“We still have to look at the rest of it all where you can barely see the tops of the headstones,” he said.

When he arrived at the cemetery on Friday morning, part of it had been mowed, but he said there were mowed grass clippings covering headstones, misplaced sentimental monuments and shredded artificial flowers.

“Little monuments that people leave that were special to their loved ones that overturn what flowers are…and I just witnessed it myself trying to clean up,” Grams said.

However, the city of Marlin told KWTX on Monday that it has begun the process of mowing the cemetery.

City manager Cedric Davis said lack of resources and drought conditions were among the reasons the cemetery became extremely overgrown.

Department of Public Works director Julius Bledsoe said rain in recent weeks had prevented workers from mowing the grass. He also said they were having mechanical issues with their lawn mowers.

“We had two weeks of rain and then there was a drought,” he said. “After that, a lot of water pipes burst and everything, and we had water issues… We had a lot of mechanical issues with our lawnmowers and equipment. So that replaces maintenance voluntary.

He also said the public works department has less than five people in each division. The city has many projects underway, including repairing burst water pipes, and public works employees are sent in to work on projects that may need immediate attention.

“We have other projects in the works,” Bledsoe said. “For example, tennis courts here in Marlin, we are currently renovating a tennis court to add a wading pool for the kids as well as maintaining a tennis basketball court as well as an indoor football facility.”

However, he realizes how overgrown the cemetery has become, but he asks the community to step in and help or be patient.

“Progress is a process, and we’re definitely in tune with the issues we have here,” he said. “We try to eliminate them as quickly as possible, but we have so many different things going on between three small divisions. It’s just a little difficult sometimes.

Public works employees are mowing the cemetery, but Davis said it will take at least three days due to the size of the cemetery.


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