Wheels in motion to clean up historic Newark cemetery

The city started the process of cleaning up historic Woodland Cemetery less than a week after residents gathered in protest over its decaying condition.

Protesters complained last weekend that the cemetery, which is the final resting place of more than 300 Civil War veterans and thousands who helped build Newark, had become overrun by garbage and illegal activity.

Just days after the protest, the cemetery board addressed the problem at a meeting. Another meeting will be held to set a cleanup agenda. Large tree stumps that blocked a pathway through the cemetery have already been removed.

City Councilman Oscar James says the city can only do so much because a contractor is responsible for the property. The contractor, James says, has provided lawmakers with letters about cleanup plans, but little else.

James says figuring out a way to secure the cemetery once it is cleaned and properly maintained is important. However, he says, he must figure out who will foot the bill since he doesn?t want taxpayers to do it.

Calls to the cemetery?s contractor, Sanford Epstein, have not been returned.

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