Petersburg residents angry about overgrown grass at local cemetery

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) —  Many residents in Petersburg are angry that tall uncut grass is greeting families who come to visit their loved ones at Blandford Cemetery.

The grass in some areas is taller than the headstones. Many said they thought since Tuesday was Independence Day they would have thought the grounds would have been better prepared to greet those coming to visit their loved ones.

There are thousands of grave sites at Blandford, many of them veterans, sitting on nearly 200 acres of land.

“We have to walk through this tall grass to get to see the graves,” said Debra McCloud, who visited the cemetery to see the grave site of Joseph Cotten, a famous actor buried there.

McCloud was visiting from North Carolina and says the tall grass left a poor first impression.

“We should take care of our ancestors and the people who were here before us, and taking care of the Cemetery is part of that,” McCloud said.

Gabrielle Cornett came by to visit her cousin, who died at 13.

“Yeah it’s pretty sad,” she said.

Cornett says before she could even leave flowers the had to pull up the grass from around the grave site just to leave flowers.

“Definitely would have thought they would have cut the grass or at least something,” said Cornett.

Not all parts of the cemetery are over grown, but in other areas, it is clear the grass has not been touched in weeks.

The cemetery is owned by the city and a spokesperson told 8News they have 7-10 workers working five days a week to cut the 200 acres of land. But, it takes nearly three weeks to cut the entire place just once. And they say when it rains that helps the grass grow and slows down their maintenance.

Many hope the tall grass gets cut soon.

“I wish they would take better care of it cut the grass more and make the walkways more easily accessible, because snakes, you know, nobody wants to walk through high grass and have to worry about snakes,” Cornett said.

The city also reminds residents that they can only cut the grass there with either a weed eater or a push mower as to not damage the graves, They stress they will be working to get everything cut as soon as possible.

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