Letter: Thoughts on Oak Grove Cemetery policies


Since the City of Delaware took over the care of Oak Grove Cemetery, they have established new rules concerning what is or isn’t allowed at the graveyard. According to their website you are no longer allowed any type of fencing, borders or enclosures, rocks, shells or stones at the gravestone. They no longer allow shepherd hooks or grave blankets. You may not plant trees, shrubbery or large perennials. You are to have natural flowers May through Oct. 1, and may only use artificial flowers November through May. There are several other regulations I did not mention.

Might I ask the city who paid for those grave plots, fencing or borders, and who owns the plots? The families that have their loved ones buried there that’s who. I have personally bought over 20 plots myself. The city just maintains them, and they’re being paid by our tax dollars to do that job.

At Christmas, many people like to add a grave blanket to the grave, what harm does that do? There is no mowing during the winter months. People feel closer to their lost loved ones by decorating the area. For some people it is what keeps them going. What’s the harm in a shepherd hook or to have your family plot enclosed with a fence or a border?

I personally had a border around my stone and fencing around my daughter and daughter-in-law’s stones because I did not want the gravestones damaged by the people who mow, but the border and those fences have been torn down and I did not get reimbursed for any of those. One of our daughter’s husband passed away a couple of years ago, and she had his grave tastefully decorated and fenced but the fencing was removed. For years, Ray Pettit and his team took care of the cemetery and did not infringe on the rights of the plot owners. After Ray left, Mr. Davenport and his team did a wonderful job, but since the new people at the city have taken over, they seem to feel that they can impose unreasonable rules on the cemetery.

So, I would like to know does that mean that the city is going to tear out the existing shrubs and trees like they did our fencing and borders because it doesn’t fit their theme? Are they going to pull up the stones, rocks or shells from existing graves and leave it without anything. Not everyone can afford to put down mulch. What about the people who are unable to plant flowers because of disability or age?

We have family in about 5 different graveyards, none of which seem to have any problem with borders, fencing, real or artificial flowers, etc. It’s strange that a township run cemetery can do such a great job of maintaining their cemeteries, but Oak Grove can’t or won’t. We will find out if this is legal.

Paul Ray


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