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‘Park’ would not include kids’ swings

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POSTED July 3, 2014 1:11 a.m.

Steve DeBrum does not want to see children’s playground equipment at the East Union Cemetery.

The Manteca councilman’s request for staff to look at possible ways the city could turn around blighted conditions at the historic cemetery at Union Road and Louise Avenue including maintaining it as if it were part of the city park system  got twisted a bit in a Sacramento TV station’s story on his proposal.

DeBrum, who declined the station’s request for an interview noting an exact proposal had yet to be formulated, noted that grass was dying and the cemetery was falling into disrepair when he attended Memorial Day ceremonies there.

For the past several years the private non-profit cemetery association has been in limbo due to state licensing issues. Volunteers — mostly elderly— have been trying to take care of the cemetery and even dug graves for those that had died and who had previously purchased plots at the cemetery.

The TV news story had neighbors fretting about city “plans” to place swings and children’s playground equipment at the cemetery.

DeBrum said that wasn’t the intent at all.

What he is interested in is seeing if there is a way it could be designated as a historic park given the large number of pioneers and Manteca residents buried there. He also doesn’t want to see the cemetery become blighted.

DeBrum indicated he has no idea if there is a solution that the city could be part of but he wanted to see if there was a way the grounds could be maintained in some manner by city crews.

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