Adopt-A-Cemetery Program Proposed

Many rural cemetery associations are struggling to afford maintenance and upkeep of their grounds.

Assemblyman Robert Smullen, R-Herkimer, is proposing legislation (A.9422) that would require the state Secretary of State to develop an “Adopt-A-Rural Cemetery” program to improve, repair and maintain cemeteries in rural communities.

The program would apply to municipalities outside of New York City that opt to participate in the program and would include coordinating services by volunteers or groups to improve, repair and maintain cemeteries. Signs would be installed identifying volunteers or groups adopting particular rural cemeteries. The program will also be funded through existing appropriations within the Department of State.

“The New York State Division of Cemeteries oversees the maintenance of approximately 1,700 not-for-profit cemeteries in New York state,” Smullen wrote in his legislative justification. “Municipalities, primarily in rural areas of the state and in small cities, have struggled to maintain their older cemeteries. These cemeteries may have dilapidated monuments, overgrown vegetation, or are in need of new fencing. This legislation is necessary to establish an “Adopt-A-Rural Cemetery” program, modeled after the highly successful “Adopt-A-Highway” program, to allow volunteers or groups assist in the crucial maintenance and preservation of cemeteries in our rural communities throughout the state.”


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