Mifflin Township to Undertake Comprehensive Clean Up At Riverside Cemetery

GAHANNA, Ohio – The Mifflin Township Service Department is gearing up for a comprehensive clean-up at Riverside Cemetery off of Sunbury Road beginning on June 1, and officials are reminding cemetery visitors at both Mifflin and Riverside Cemeteries that spring rules for decorating graves are now in effect.

“There are a number of graves that are not in compliance at Riverside Cemetery, which will make summer maintenance and service much more difficult,” said Mifflin Township Service Director Daril Tharp. “While we have tried to communicate with visitors on an individual basis when we see items which are not allowed, this will be the first comprehensive clean-up effort undertaken at Riverside Cemetery. We are trying to give family and visitors enough notification that they can check the grave and ensure all items that they currently have in place are allowed, and remove items which are not.”

The most common issues include cement or stone edging which has been added around headstone, stone mulch, glass items such as vases on the graves, solar lights, statues or other items on the grave which are not affixed to the headstone or come out further than eight inches, and artificial flowers, which are only permitted during the winter months.  Items removed during the clean-up effort will be placed on a shelving unit next to the garage on the cemetery grounds. Family and friends may pick up their items at their convenience.

Currently, cemetery rules state that after March 15, all winter and holiday decorations on the ground will be removed, and any artificial flowers need to be securely fastened to the headstone. According to cemetery officials, this time of year often brings high winds and severe storms through Ohio, and artificial flowers not securely fastened to the headstone often end up scattered across the cemetery grounds, as well as glass vases.

This is also the season for treating and mowing the grass and addressing other landscaping needs, as well as making repairs, but it also is when we typically see unapproved decorative items appear at gravesides, according to Tharp.

Visitors to graves are reminded that any obstruction protruding from the ground that hinders cemetery maintenance is prohibited, such as shepherd hooks, solar lights and seasonal/decorative flag holders. All small items must be secured to the base of the stone, not on the ground. While American flags are allowed, cemetery officials recommend the 12 x 15 inch size for best display, secured to the stone if possible. Live flowers may be planted at the base of the stone no further than eight inches from the front of the stone to allow for lawn cutting equipment to pass between rows. No plantings are allowed on the back side of the stone.

For a complete list of the rules and regulations, visit the Service/Cemetery Department office at 218 Agler Rd. and pick up a copy, call (614) 471-4494 or visit http://mifflin-oh.gov/departments/cemetery/rules_and_regulations.php#.VgQRM8u6f3k to download a copy. Also, copies of the rules are located in plastic boxes throughout the cemetery grounds.