CHARLEROI (KDKA) — Milton Kubik buried his sister Mildred in the Charleroi Cemetery in February, but today you can hardly see her headstone because of the overgrown grass.
The plots of his mother, father, mother-in-law, aunt and uncle have all gone to seed.
“It’s frustrating, you know. Nobody knows what’s going on,” Kubik said.
The cemetery looks more like a wheat field, grass hasn’t been cut in months and weeds grow tall, but there’s no staff in sight, leaving the task of regular maintenance up to the families.
“Probably once a week, every 10 days or so to maintain this area here,” said Dave Shaver, of Charleroi.
Folks like Shaver haul lawnmowers and garden tools up to the cemetery at least twice a month to tend to their family plots.
“It’s a shame that you go walk about and see from A to Z conditions, and nobody cares,” said Shaver.
The cemetery’s board of trustees disbanded years ago, and since then it’s changed hands a few times.
The new owners, James and Ann Price, declined to appear on camera, but told KDKA’s Andy Sheehan they simply don’t have the money to maintain it. That means matters will only get worse.
“There’s older people who have relatives here. They can’t bring weed wackers or lawnmowers up because it’s just too heavy for them,” said Claudia Theakson, of Charleroi.
The Prices say the perpetual maintenance fund had been drained before they bought the cemetery last year, and with few new burials, there’s little money coming in.
The Washington County District Attorney’s Office is investigating, but the cemetery is but one of several in the region with a grim financial future. The families says they’ll need to forge on their own.
“I know there’s enough people around who would sell tickets or have fundraisers, so we can keep this graveyard up so it doesn’t look so shabby,” said Theakson.