Local Coverage

May 10, 2013 6:18 PM by Bianca Spinosa

Families Told Benches, Ornaments Must Go At Burgin Cemetery

Imagine being told you must remove benches and ornaments that have been at your loved one's gravesite for years. That's the letter several families who have loved ones at Burgin Memorial Gardens in Mercer County received.

Several times a week Connie Monroe and Karen Moore visit the gravesites of their children, both taken from the world too soon.

"This is what we have left, and they are asking us to take it all away," says a tearful Connie Monroe, whose son Josh Monroe is buried there.

Years after their losses, the emotion is still raw. The families put up ornaments and benches so they could reflect. But Monday, they got a letter saying there would be a new rule that most of the decorations and the benches must go by May 14th.

"It breaks my heart, because this is where I come to talk to Josh," says Monroe.

Karen Moore has a daughter buried at the cemetery. Both families chose this cemetery with the understanding they could put up benches.

"To have them take away the only sanctuary we have to visit is not right. It's a heartless thing," says Moore.

Other cemeteries have similar ordinances, but when the families chose Burgin Memorial Gardens, which is owned by the city of Burgin, it did not have such an ordinance about benches and decorations. City Council voted for the new ordinance in November 2012 unbeknownst to the families. So why are they being notified now? According to the letter from a City Council member, "After talking with the company that mows the cemetery, they are wanting to raise the price of mowing because of all the time it takes to trim around these items." They were told they could return the items after the summer mowing months.

To some, though, it goes beyond dollars and cents. When Connie's sister went to City Hall to ask about it,

"They told her we have too much stuff up here. Well to us this is not stuff," says Monroe.

LEX18 spoke to the Mayor of Burgin, Dale Turner, who said they will give families additional time to remove the items. He said it will be up for discussion at the next City Council meeting, on Tuesday May 14th at 6:00 pm.

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