City prioritizes maintenance of historic burial ground

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – For more than 175 years Mount Hope Cemetery has served as the burial site of some of the country’s most famous leaders and history makers, Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony to name a few.

Now the city is making it a priority to maintain one of Rochester’s most historic burial grounds. When it comes to daily maintenance of Mount Hope’s 196 acres, it’s truly a team effort. Along with the help of workers and volunteers, additional allocation of city money is critical to keeping one of the nation’s most historic cemetery grounds looking pristine.

So, the city is acting. Raking leaves and weed trimming are just a few ways volunteer Brian Nuzzo honors those buried at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Nuzzo said, “We’ve been volunteering here since 2020, this area specifically, and actually this year we brought our own weed wacker.

But, even with all of his work, Nuzzo says it’s hard to keep up with the growing landscaping problem.

“We come to take care of this one little cradle grave here, but even then, it’s hard to do when we are overgrown all around it,” said Nuzzo.

These are reasons why Rochester Department of Environmental Services Commissioner Richard Perrin says he’s glad the city is increasing the amount money being allocated to maintain cemeteries. The city’s latest capital improvement program projects an increase in funding for cemetery improvement sites from $200K in 2023-2024 to $570K in 2024-2025.

Perrin said, “We are fortunate that Mayor Evans recognizes that we have been under investing in our parks and cemeteries for quite some time with respect to the personnel and resources needed to maintain them in the shape they should be in”

More city money means more employees able to keep the cemetery in top shape.

“We went from basically having 11 and part time and seasonal folks to getting help there. So now, we have an additional eight full time folks to help us during the summer that will become part of our team,” said Perrin.

That’s help that volunteer Arthur Graham said Mount Hope will benefit from.

“People have been buried here for hundreds of years and who don’t have family, and so this area doesn’t quite get as much care.”

Perrin said that groundskeeping is on the way, but says they are also looking for volunteers.

“We are not only increasing those resources within the city, but also offering up the opportunity for anybody who wants to volunteer to come out and get involved.”

Get involved here.