Group: Popular Cemetery Disrespecting The Dead

PUEBLO, Colo. - One group claims the dead are being treated with disrespect at a popular Pueblo cemetery.

Roselawn Cemetery management says it's a money issue and they're doing the best they can.

Lucille Corsentino started the group Concerned Citizens for Roselawn Cemetery. She worked for Roselawn about 10 years ago and says over the past few years there's been little to no maintenance of the grounds.

In one section of the cemetery, "The east, the north, the west and the south there's not one bit of grass around here," she says as she shows us around.

Besides weeds, gophers are a big problem. Corsentino says Roselawn knew about the gopher problem a long time ago and could've taken care of it. "Now it's turned into this monumental... I don't even know how to describe it," she says.

"It is a big place for the amount of crew I have to take care of it," Roselawn's Executive Director Frank Nash Jr. told us.

He says the bad economy's taking it's toll, and with more people choosing cremation, it adds up to fewer dollars for the cemetery.

"Our trusts are protected by Colorado law, that they can't go below a certain amount, so they did not go below a certain amount," Nash says, "but you're still gonna have budget issues in this economy."

Corsentino's attorney asked the cemetery to allow her group to review the financials, but they were told no.

She says for now her group will continue to try to fix what they call the "disrespect of the dead."

Roselawn statement:

There has been discussion lately about Roselawn Cemetery. As with any challenge, there are many facets to the situation. Regardless, any dialogue about the care for departed loved one is important--complaints help us improve and the compliments we receive tell us that our services are meeting the needs of the community in meaningful ways.

In taking a moment to evaluate why the cemetery is under stress, there are a number of things that must be known. It is apparent that our lack of rain is affecting the grass at Roselawn. This was seen in the early 200's during the last seasonal drought. Exacerbating this is the challenge of cemetery maintenance around upright monuments. They are beautiful, but do present a watering and mowing challenge. Further, the cemetery does possess Bessemer Ditch water shares; however, watering with open ditch water applies weed seeds to the turf, another maintenance challenge.

It is also critical to communicate what is being done to combat these challenges. First, a dedicated effort to eradicate gophers was undertaken a number of years ago and continues today. Innovative watering techniques are being tried. The Board initiated a diversification to provide cremation, funeral and et services for southern Colorado families and to strengthen the financial position of the company. The Roselawn Foundation is boosting its efforts to support the cemetery by inviting all to support Roselawn with deductible charitable contributions.

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