Controversy surrounds maintenance of historic cemetery after flowers, mementos thrown away

Linda Tirado says she visits the cemetery where her mother is buried several times a year, and carefully maintains the gravesite, so she was stunned to find the items she so lovingly placed there had been thrown in a dumpster.  

Tirado shared photos of the pot and silk flowers, she'd placed at her mother's gravesite soon after her death.

Tirado told FOX 5's Deidra Dukes, "It's been there for 5 years now.  I've never had a problem."

She was devastated to discover the arrangement missing when she visited Liberty Hill Cemetery in Acworth on Mother's Day.  

"I thought, 'Oh my God somebody vandalized there.' I was with my friend, so we looked around and we noticed at the cemetery alot of the other pots were missing, and other memorabilia from other cemetery plots, and off in the distance there was a dumpster and I was like let me check the dumpster", said Tirado.

She was shocked to find her pot, flowers, and items from other gravesites had been trashed.  

She then spotted a notice-of-maintenance sign posted by the city of Acworth at the entrance to the cemetery. It states items not in compliance with cemetery rules would be removed from all gravesites the week of April 19.  

"Our goal is to keep the dignity and appearance of the cemetery up," said Acworth City Manager Brian Bulthuis, who spoke with us by phone. 

He said the city notified the public of the policy change via its website,  Facebook, newspaper and email. Bulthuis said the volume and types of items that had accumulated over time took away from the appearance of the grounds and hindered proper maintenance of the site. 

Bulthius stated,  "If you've got a vase that is part of the monument, headstone you can put that out, you can put flowers in that."

Tirado insists her mother's grave was well-kept and wonders how many other families are unaware their loved ones' gravesites have been cleared.  

"I just want the public to know what's going on", said Tirado, "who have their loved ones out there."

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