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Families forced to cut grass at historic cemetery: ‘It breaks your heart’

PETERSBURG, Va. -- Family members are expressing concern about conditions at historic Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg.

Mary Russell

Mary Russell

"It's sad," Mary Russell said as she pointed to tall grass hiding gravestones."It breaks your heart."

Russell said conditions at the cemetery have worsened over the past couple of years. But weeks into the spring and with several rainy spells, the uncut grass has her at her wit's end.

"Perpetual care means to me, I could come here and wouldn't find this on my family's grave or anybody's grave," Russell said. "Have a heart."

Historic Blandford Cemetery

Historic Blandford Cemetery

As a result, Russell and her husband are one of several families who are not cutting the grass of the plots of their loved ones.

"The grass situation is just horrible," Sandra Davidson said. "We bring a Weed Eater out and do it ourselves. We do dad's and it's sad."

In recent weeks, viewers have contacted the CBS 6 Problem Solvers about the grass.

While most said the grass has not been cut in months, city crews were out in force working on the nearly 200-acre cemetery Thursday morning.

While city budget constraints and manpower shortages have been constant problems over the past two years, officials said the new fiscal year should bring a change.

"I've been given money to hire temporary help," Petersburg Interim Public Works Director Emmanuel Adediran said. "They will work from July to end of September, and then come back and work from March through July."

CBS 6 News is working for you. Click here to email a tip to the CBS 6 Problem Solvers. Be sure to leave us your name, phone number and detailed description of the problem. You can also leave a message by calling 804-254-3672.

Overgrown grass at Blandford Cemetery.

Overgrown grass at Blandford Cemetery.