Residents battle for historic cemetery's cleanup

Community activists are fighting to clean up the final resting place for more than 300 Civil War veterans and early citizens of Newark.

Residents say the Woodland Cemetery used to consist of 55 acres of well kept land, with each grave accompanied by miniature American flags. The graveyard has fallen into disarray in recent years.

A rally was held Saturday to garner support for the restoration of the memorial park.

A City Hall spokesman say Newark is working with community leaders to improve the conditions of the grounds in and around the cemetery, but the cooperation of the property's contractor is needed to make a difference. Department of Neighborhood and Recreational Services officials say it is in the process of setting up a meeting with the Epstein Cemetery Management Company.

Officials say the money needed for the cemetery's restoration could come out of the pockets of the families of the deceased.

This isn't the first bout of controversy due to the cemetery's conditions. A lawsuit was brought against the Woodland Cemetery Board of Trustees and the state of New Jersey in 1999. The suit was ultimately dropped and the state was released from the lawsuit for unknown reasons.

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