JACKSON, Ohio (WSAZ) – An ordinance regarding Fairmount Cemetery has passed its second reading at Jackson City Council. City leaders will meet again at the end of May with the opportunity to pass the proposed legislation for a third and final time.
A portion of the ordinance that has drawn some attention from Jackson residents is the enforcement of restrictions placed on decorations.
“Things like borders that extend out from the headstone, rocks, mulch, and other decorative items that could get in the way of the mowing area,” Mayor Randy Evans said.
Many of these restrictions are not new, but the mayor says they have not always been enforced. His crews will be tasked with enforcing them if the legislation passes. Some residents in the city are not in favor of the legislation.
“This is an emotional thing for us,” said Brian Eggers.
Eggers mows the grass around his son’s headstone on a weekly basis. He even mows the surrounding area, including other headstones. However, his son’s headstone has a bed of mulch around its base and a border separating the mulch bed from the grass. This would put his son’s headstone in non-compliance under the newly proposed ordinance.
“Put yourself in our shoes. If someone was coming and telling you that you can’t do something to honor your own child, why does that have to be?” Eggers said.
Evans says his crews will be empathetic to those who are grieving the loss of a loved one and will treat the enforcement of these restrictions on a case-by-case basis.
“Those are really difficult ones because they’re out here every day taking care of their plot. So why do we want to interfere with that? Yet, they’re out of compliance with the rules that everyone else has to follow,” Evans said. “The goal is to keep the place looking nice, but have the same rules apply for everyone.”
Eggers and his family have voiced their concerns at previous City Council meetings and he questions why his son’s monument and others like it would be a problem if he continues to maintain it himself.
“If we can help take a burden off you, we feel like that would be more than OK. But to have somebody fight you for saying, ‘we can help you’, it’s just a crazy idea to me,” Eggers said.
City Council meets again on May 23, and the ordinance will come up for a third reading.
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