MARIETTA - Crews were still working at Oak Grove Cemetery Tuesday, clearing downed trees, branches and other debris that fell on the graveyard during the massive June 29 wind storm.
"All five of our summer employees have not stopped working on the cleanup since the storm came through last month," Tom Kunz, cemetery foreman, said during a Marietta City Council tour of city cemeteries Tuesday morning.
He said workers are running smaller limbs and branches through a chipping machine and hauling the material to the Greenleaf Landscapes compost site on Ohio 821. But there are still some larger trees to be removed, including a huge tulip poplar that fell across several graves near the cemetery office building.
Photo by Sam Shawver
Marietta City Council members toured the city’s Oak Grove and Mound cemeteries Tuesday morning. Shown discussing grave sites at Mound Cemetery, from left, are Councilman Denver Abicht, D-at large, Council President Walt Brothers and Councilman Harley Noland, D-at large.
"We could let someone have that tree for lumber if anyone wants to take it," said Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward. Interested parties can call Marietta City Hall at 373-1387.
Kunz said once the tulip poplar is removed a section of roadway damaged by the tree roots will have to be repaved.
"Unfortunately the storm work has set us back on other routine work that has to be done," he said.
Council toured the Oak Grove and Mound cemeteries Tuesday as part of a continuing effort to familiarize the members with city departments and facilities, according to council president Walt Brothers.
He said it should be easier for visitors to find specific graves in the city's cemeteries.
"We need to provide a database of the grave sites so people can find the graves they're searching for," he said.
Councilman Harley Noland, D-at large, agreed.
"A lot of people are looking for their family histories when they visit our cemeteries," he said. "And there is a local group working on making it easier to locate graves."
Jean Yost, a member of the Mound Cemetery Committee, said that group and others are looking at ways to use technology to help with grave location.
"Other communities use a database and GPS (global positioning satellite) technology to keep track of grave sites," he said.
Yost said gathering the necessary information would be a labor-intensive effort, but the ultimate goal would be to eventually have a GPS-type system available for area cemeteries.
"At Oak Grove visitors will often drive around the cemetery first, then stop and ask one of our workers for help in locating a grave," Kunz said. "Anytime a grave is sold or there's a burial, I enter it into a log at my desk. But it's still difficult, especially at Oak Grove Cemetery, to direct someone to a grave."
He said a map or GPS database would make a difference for visitors and employees.