Community calling for Wapato cemetery update

Community calling for Wapato cemetery update

WAPATO, Wash. - The Wapato community is calling on the city to upkeep maintenance at the city cemetery.

During a Wapato city council meeting Monday night, many gathered to voice their concerns about Reservation Community Memorial Park including: dry grass, weeds, buried and broken headstones.

Robin Cordova, whose daughter Hannah is buried at the cemetery, attended the city council meeting because she thinks the city needs to address these problems.

“There’s nobody that’s buried out here that deserves this, and there’s no family that deserves to be put through the torment that we’re put through when we come out here and look at how our loved ones are taken care of,” she said.

Cordova and her husband have been taking care of their daughter’s grave for just over six years but said she recently received a letter from the city of Wapato, telling her to stop. Cordova said the letter told her it’s against the rules to remove plants from the cemetery and they were breaking a city ordinance when her husband mowed the grass around their daughter’s grave.

Cordova said she plans to continue to care of her daughter’s grave because she isn’t giving up on her.

“This is all we have to take care of her, this is the only thing we have left to do is to take care of her grave,” she said.

The city oversees general maintenance at the cemetery such as mowing, watering, digging graves, placing headstones and arranging funeral processions, according to Gary Potter, the Interim Public Works Director for the City of Wapato.

“We’ll do general maintenance for the cemetery and that care is for forever I guess, the city will be responsible for that,” he said.

Potter said the voice of citizens is a good thing and the city is working toward an agreement with the concerned citizens.

Cordova said she hopes the meeting is the start to fixing the problem.

“I think that’s a step forward, if they’re going to acknowledge the problems, maybe we can move forward,” Cordova said.

UPDATE [August 30] Wapato city council held a meeting at Reservation Community Memorial Park on Sunday so community members could point out their concerns.

Wapato Mayor Tony Guzman was not in attendance due to a family emergency but he said he would attend the next city council meeting on Sept. 5 to discuss the problems with the cemetery.

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