UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY)- A year ago New Forest Cemetery was close to abandonment due to lack of volunteers, broken equipment and little money to maintain the grounds. A new committee was formed to help save the cemetery. Back in June, the cemetery faced similar challenges. Now today, great progress has been made and they are preparing for a two day garage sale.
Former superintendent of New Forest Cemetery Grounds, Jeremy Hayes, recently returned to the cemetery to help cut the 37 acres of grass. Vice president of the cemetery board, Valarie Blackshear, says the cemetery has received various monetary donations that helped fixed their equipment.
“We were able to fix both lawnmowers. We actually had to do some repairs on the tractor as well. The equipment is all out and they’re in the garage being used right now by Jeremy. The grounds are looking god, everything has been looking well. We’ve had some burials, burials are up, cremations as well. So we’re up and running, we’re here.” -Valarie Blackshear
Blackshear says they already have individuals ready to volunteer to help maintain the grounds during the fall and winter seasons, “You get a good group and that group of volunteers, they come back. I will tell you when they come, they work hard. They’re just as dedicated to making everything better for New Forest as the board is.”
Next weekend on Friday, August 13th and Saturday, August 14th, the cemetery will be hosting a garage sale.
“We’re going to have some food trucks that are going to be there. We’re going to have a musician that’s going to be there. There’s a person there that’s going to be doing flowers and creating those types of bouquets or whatever people may want to purchase as well. These food trucks that are coming, they’re going to donate part of what they make back to the cemetery.”
Donations for the garage sale will be taken up until Wednesday, August 11. The cemetery is in need of men’s clothing. All clothing will be be dry cleaned before the garage sale. For more information contact Valarie Blackshear: 315- 534-0512.