City of Toppenish makes repairs to Elmwood Cemetery after complaints

TOPPENISH, Wash. — Cemeteries are a place to remember, honor and pay tribute to those we’ve lost. R. Evans, a resident of Yakima, visited his departed family at Elmwood Cemetery. He said he was horrified to see the state of the place meant to offer peace.

In an email to KAPP KVEW Local News, he wrote, “The City of Toppenish has FAILED MISERABLY on the maintenance of Elmwood Cemetery.”

He said he saw overgrown weeds, dry grass, garbage, beer cans and water bottles littering the place of remembrance.

Evans said, “When I saw this, I just about, just, oh my god. Mortified over this.”

He sent several pictures of what he saw on Tuesday.

“I showed pictures to my family and they were mortified, mortified. Just absolutely in shock. This is just flat out wrong,” Evans said.

The city is currently making repairs.

They have since mowed and cleaned the cemetery. However, the future of where Evans’ family rests is worrying him.

“My dad’s family is buried there and I’ve been going there for well since I was a kid.”

Toppenish city staff said one of their biggest priorities is to clean up locations like Elmwood Cemetery, and keep them as safe as possible.

In response to the maintenance the city has done, Evans said, “They’re doing a very poor job with it right now. They need to keep it up just like they would anywhere else.”

According to the Assistant Manager of the city in charge of the state of the cemetery, who has been on the job for just one week, it’s high on his list.

“My priorities are more from a maintenance perspective. Just taking care of the assets that we do have is really, really important,” said Dan Ford.

The city has been working on replacing the manual watering system.

Ford said, “Turning this over to an automated system is not only going to make it more efficient, but it’s going to allow us to make sure that everything’s taken care of the way that it is.”

Ford is optimistic about the future state of the cemetery. “I think you’re gonna see this turn around really quickly as it is in the valley, all over the place, water’s the key,” he said.

Ford said, once again, it will be a place of remembrance, honor and tribute.

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