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Ordinance requires removal of cemetery decorations

A new ordinance will require individuals to remove decorative items from graves in Madison city cemeteries. CONTRIBUTED
A new ordinance will require individuals to remove decorative items from graves in Madison city cemeteries. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – Starting March 1, residents must remove decorative items from graves in Madison cemeteries.

The decorative items cause “hazards as small flying objects from mowers and weed eaters that can injury employees or damage property. The biggest problem is these items have to be moved each week during grass-cutting season and then put back,” Director of Public Works Kent Smith said.

Approved in February 2015, Ordinance No. 2015-50 first required the posting of two clearly visible signs in each of Madison’s three city cemeteries. Signage has been posted since October 2015.

“March 1, 2016 marks the beginning of the 30-day deadline for removal of all items listed in the ordinance,” Smith said. “We will stage these items in each cemetery until April 1, 2016” for residents to retrieve.

Examples of items to remove are solar lights, animal figurines, concrete benches and figures, hanging decorations, lawn furniture, vases, urns and any small items that must be removed/replaced when mowing.

The ordinances states “temporary flags and wreathes are allowed on holidays, subject to supervision on Public Works.”

“It takes the crew four times as long to maintain the areas. Also, these items/decorations block the designated walking areas in the cemeteries, causing tripping hazards to the public visiting the cemeteries,” Smith said.

“Changes have needed to be made for several years and some areas of the cemeteries had fallen into disarray,” Smith said. “We have made great strides in our cleanup so far and wish to finish the project so maintenance can be completed in a timely manner.”

“This new ordinance provides backing by city council, mayor and cemetery committee to make the necessary upgrades and changes,” Smith said. Councilman Gerald Clark, District 6, serves as council liaison to the cemetery committee. Jeanne Steadman is committee president.

Madison’s three cemeteries are Old Madison Cemetery, on Mill Road’s south side near Hughes Road; Madison Memory Gardens on Hughes Road, north of City Hall; and Madison Cemetery, on Mill Road’s north side and west of City Hall.

Starting March 1, Channel 42 on Wow will broadcast the ordinance requirements. To read the ordinance, visit www.madisonal.gov, type “2015-50” in the search box and click “Go.”

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