Roswell residents unhappy with condition of city cemetery

New Mexico News

Some people in Roswell are so fed up with the condition of a local cemetery, they’re taking matters into their own hands.

When asked about the cemetery, its manager didn’t exactly deny that it’s looking run down.

Pat Kuemmerle’s mother, father and sister are all buried at the South Park Cemetery in Roswell.

It’s a place she says used to be green and well-manicured, but has recently deteriorated, especially over the last six months.

“It used to be beautiful, the grounds were always beautiful,” said Kuemmerle.

From overgrown grass to dying grass and trees, she wants something done.

“We find ourselves coming out here and bringing lawn mowers and weed whackers and bringing buckets of water, when we shouldn’t have to,” said Kuemmerle.

It’s one of two cemeteries the city runs, along with the nearby Veteran’s Cemetery.

“It is almost overwhelming at times, we strive every day for perfection every day. I know nothing’s perfect but we shoot for that every day,” said Cemetery Superintendent Ruben Esquivel.

Esquivel said their main priority is internments, with maintenance coming in second.

“It takes two crew members to run a service, so by tying them up with the service, of course it’s going to keep you from ground maintenance,” said Esquivel.

KRQE News 13 is told there are six crew members who work on ground maintenance Monday through Friday.

However, with more than 31,000 people buried here, and because the ground around each headstone needs to be trimmed by hand, it’s a challenge to keep up.

“Fortunately, we are going to be enlarging that by two, so we will have two more staff members come on and to help alleviate this situation,” said Esquivel.

“There’s a lot of money that the people from Roswell pay to have their loved ones here, and according to their side of the contract, they’re supposed to maintain it,” said Kuemmerle.

The cemetery asks if anyone has any further comments or concerns, to give them a call.

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