PRINCETON — Brenda Moore went to visit her mother's gravesite at Maple Hill Cemetery Aug. 3, and found a washer had been dumped on the property.
She took to Facebook and posted a photo of the discarded appliance, along with a short message that included a call to action for community members.
"I am going to talk to some local people to try and organize a cleanup at Maple Hill," she wrote.
Seven days later, Moore and a group of other concerned community members took matters into their own hands as they cut limbs, mowed grass, and picked up downed branches on the property.
"(Maple Hill has) always been a big complaint with the community," Moore said.
The Princeton resident has three family members buried there. Each visit to the cemetery involves cleanup of their area and nearby gravesites. That active participation is the only way the issues will be fixed, Moore said.
"It's going take groups coming in," she said.
The issues include tall grass, overgrown plots of weeds, downed branches and limbs, and old trash barrels. Moore said they hoped picking up the limbs and trimming trees may make it easier for a grounds crew in the future.
The City of Princeton lent use of a chipper for the cleanup, which Moore said is not a single-day project. She expected to come back after Sunday and take another look around to figure out what would need to be done next.
Items like trash barrels, and perhaps a bunker where old flowers can be burned, won't be one-day fixes. She's open to ideas and suggestions and appreciates each volunteer who takes time to come out and pick up limbs or pull weeds.
"I appreciate every little bit they are doing," she said.
One of the volunteers Sunday was Emma Wilson. Wilson said issues have been happening for years at the cemetery. When her father was buried at Maple Hill in the late 1980s there was no brush near his plot. Now, it's grown up well past what a lawnmower could handle.
She said she understands not being able to keep help, but it's not something those with family members at the cemetery can handle on their own.
"One person, two people, even one family can't keep it all," Wilson said.
Cleanup days will continue on Sundays and those with questions or ideas can contact Brenda Moore at 812-205-6904.