Woodland Cemetery is privately owned by anyone who has purchased a plot there since the 1850s (or, as it may currently be, their heirs). It is run by a board of managers. The by-laws allow for nine members, who must own a plot or have family buried in the cemetery. Board members are all unpaid volunteers who joined the board hoping to restore the cemetery to a respectable condition.
In the more recent past, a maintenance and preservation fund was established for the continued care and maintenance of the cemetery. The cemetery can use the income made from that trust, but not the trust itself. Unfortunately, the trust does not have enough money to allow for the proper care of the cemetery, which is almost 37 acres of land. There are no owners who pay for any care or upkeep of the cemetery or even individual grave sites.
Unfortunately, dumping garbage at the cemetery is also a big problem. The board pays someone to clean up and dispose of the garbage around the perimeter. Just as quickly as it’s cleaned, new trash reappears. The money spent on garbage removal means less money to spend on landscaping.
The board has created a five-year plan for the cemetery. According to this plan, the landscapers start at South 10th Street and work inward as far as they can for the day. They also clear all of the roads. This is the first phase of a 5-year plan. The board is planning to open the section of South 10th Street for new burials. If all goes well, the cemetery should be mostly restored by the end of the plan. If money comes up short, the plan will be extended and modified as needed.
If you have any suggestions or ideas, the board would like to hear from you.
According to the five-year plan outline, the focus of the first year will be part of the cemetery in from South 10th Street. An unused section along that street will be opening for new burials sometime in 2015. Sales in the new section should allow the cemetery to increase funds for future projects.
Please be aware that this plan is not written in stone. It is an outline and a guide for the board. If funds are not available, the plan will obviously need to be extended. At any time, upon request, the board can cut the grass in a certain area. Headstones that have been knocked over or are face down can be reset. (Please see rates of service or email a board member for pricing.) The board will also continue to assist families in obtaining military headstones for veterans with unmarked graves. (There is no charge for assistance in this matter and those stones are installed free of charge.)
In 2015, as planned, overgrowth along the fences on Rose Terrace and Kent Street was cut back and all fallen trees and branches were removed. The new section was leveled and seeded. The entrance road was leveled and all of the roads are being maintained. Sections 11, 11A, T, S, R, Q, and 1800, as well as the new section, will be cut at least monthly, as funds permit. If funds permit, Rose Street will be trimmed at least once.
In the second year of the plan (2016), sections 1, Y, M, L, 69, and N will be cleared of fallen trees and branches and maintained at least once monthly, along with the aforementioned sections. If funds permit, Rose Street will be trimmed at least once. If necessary, a new section near the gatehouse will be measured for new burials. Road repairs will be made as needed. If funds allow, parts of the fence on Rose Street will be repaired.
In year three of the plan (2017) the remaining part of Rose Street down to the circle and up to Maple Avenue will be cleared of fallen trees and branches and maintained at least once monthly, along with the aforementioned sections. At the discretion of the board, and if necessary, certain roads that may be deemed redundant will be measured for new burials. If funds allow, parts of the fence on Rose Street will be repaired.
In the fourth year of the plan (2018) the remainder of the cemetery will be cleared of fallen trees and branches and maintained at least once monthly, along with the aforementioned sections. Sections 42, Colonial, 1700, and 300 will be leveled. Overgrowth along the fences will be cleared. The board will review options for the historic gatehouse and brainstorm ideas for future use. The process for applying for a full listing on the Historic Register will begin for the gatehouse (it currently has a certificate of eligibility).
In year five (2019) the entire cemetery should be landscaped regularly. Perimeter fences should be fixed. The board will consider any areas that might be used for new burials.