Riverview cemetery accused of being in disrepair

The Ferndale Cemetery in Riverview is in need of some TLC. How bad is the 102-year-old cemetery?

- Heavy criticism for a Downriver cemetery that is apparently in disrepair and family members of the dead are calling it disrespectful.

"I have actually seen the headstones, the flat ones, the graves submerged in water," said Gayle Hammond.

That isn't the only complaint about the Ferndale Cemetery in Riverview.

"The headstones that are sideways, I know what I paid for my family members' headstones," Hammond said. "And to come here there is so much grass on the front of them, you can't even read their names."

The Ferndale Cemetery has been around since 1914. Over 15,000 people are buried there, with room for thousands more. But what about these problems?

"It's 15 and a half acres of yard work, that's what it is." said Lydia Odell, owner Ferndale Cemetery. "So many people expect it to look - on Mother's Day, on Easter, like Arlington (National Cemetery). It isn't going to look like that even at the end of the summer.

"Mother nature is our worst enemy."

Hammond agrees that Odell can't control the weather, but ...

"They need to hire more people to take care of the lawn then," she said.

Odell and her husband own the Ferndale Cemetery and have for 35 years and they basically do all the work.  They charge $975 for the plot and that's pretty much all they get.

"It's very disrespectful," said Randy Rainey. "My sister came here on Mother's Day and cried."

But maybe now that there's been a discussion, things will change.

"I can take care of some (of the problem)," Odell said. "I can't take care of all of them. Of course I'm going to try."

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