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

Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 2:35 PM CDT
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MARLIN, Texas (KWTX) - A former Marlin resident drove by Marlin Calvary Cemetery Thursday morning to check on his loved ones’ graves when he saw extremely tall grass covering headstones of the entire cemetery.

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

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

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

He brought his weed eater to the cemetery to clean up her parents’ graves Friday morning. He wanted to make sure she would be able to see the headstone and be able to walk to the grave without walking through tall grass.

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

When he got to the cemetery Friday morning, a portion of it had been mowed, but he said there was mowed grass clippings covering headstones, sentimental monuments displaced and artificial flowers shredded.

“Little monuments that people leave that were special to their loved ones and knocking over what the flowers are in... and I’ve just witnessed it myself trying to clean up,” Grams said.

However, the city of Marlin told KWTX Monday that they started the process of mowing the cemetery.

The city manager, Cedric Davis, said the lack of resources and drought conditions are part of the reason the cemetery became extremely overgrown.

The public works department manager, Julius Bledsoe, said the rain during the past few weeks kept workers from mowing the grass. He also said they were dealing with mechanical issues with their lawnmowers.

“We had two weeks of rain, then, there was a drought,” he said. “After that, we had numerous water lines burst and everything, and we’ve been going through water problems....We’ve been dealing with a lot of mechanical issues with our lawn mowers and equipment. So, that supersedes voluntary maintenance.”

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

“We have other projects going,” Bledsoe said. “For example, tennis courts here in Marlin, we’re currently renovating a tennis court to add a splash pad for the children as well as to maintain a tennis basketball court as well as an indoor soccer facility.”

However, he does realize how overgrown the cemetery became, but he is asking the community to step up and help or be patient.

“Progress is a process, and we are definitely in tune with the problems that we have here,” he said. “We’re trying to eliminate them as quick as possible, but we have so many different things that are transpiring between three small divisions. It’s just kind of hard at times.”

Public works employees are in the process of mowing the cemetery, but Davis said it would take at least three days because of how large the cemetery is.