These are two letters to the editor published in today's Blade:
Use inmates to upkeep cemetery
When I visited the burial sites of several family members in city-owned Forest Cemetery on Memorial Day, I was shocked beyond belief.
On a day where the cemetery would have more visitors than most other days, you would at least expect mowed grounds. The condition of this cemetery is deplorable. The grounds in some sections have ankle-high weeds. Some of the grave markers have sunk and have been swallowed by weeds so that it’s hard to read the inscribed names.
When my family made arrangements for my mother’s burial, we were told the fees included the upkeep of the grounds. We are able to locate my family members’ graves because we maintain them.
I sent a letter to Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins and City Council members to express my concerns and to make a suggestion.
I proposed that city leaders employ inmates to maintain the grounds. This will give inmates an opportunity to pay it forward, where otherwise they will just sit behind bars.
Forest Cemetery’s condition sad
Visiting Forest Cemetery on Memorial Day to pay respects to my family, I found the cemetery to be deplorable. The only sections that were mowed were the ones along the perimeter.
The grass was so tall in the cemetery’s interior that grave markers were obscured. How sad, especially on Memorial Day.
Forest Cemetery is a city-owned property and as Frances Smith wrote, the fees paid are supposed to cover upkeep of the facility.
The problem is, Toledo spends a lot of money doing unnecessary things while the basic services for existing things suffers.
Here is the editor's note published along with the letters:
Editor’s note: A City of Toledo spokesman said: “The grass at Forest Cemetery was high in some areas, but is being cut. We do not have funding to allow the staff level necessary to cut more frequently during the high-grass season. The Collins administration understands the frustration expressed by a few who have visited the cemetery.”
First, it does not matter how "few" or many might express frustration. Those are just the "few" who chose to take the time to write or call. The city made a promise to the families of those interred there that the property would be maintained - and it's not, at least, not very well.
But the bigger issue is that the city is struggling trying to perform all the mowing and the pothole filling while members of council are debating how to spend money they don't have to open pools and pay for painting murals.
They keep finding new ways to spend instead of ensuring that the limited funds can cover the ongoing costs of what we already have.
Oh - and just to pour salt in the wound, one councilman suggested that grieving families should actually pay more for grave sites - so they can fund the pools.
No wonder the population of Toledo is declining.