After many years of neglect, the Adams County supervisors have developed a plan to provide assurance for the people who are buried in Oak Lawn Cemetery and their families.
The cemetery, located at 1380 Chambersburg St. West of Gettysburg has been in poor repair since at least 2015.
“It turned into a bit of a blight for Cumberland Township and people who had family members buried there,” said County Solicitor Molly Mudd, because “most of the funds to care for the facility had been pulled out.”
Mudd said the perpetual care fund designed to care for the cemetery had been “looted” and that the county district attorney had started criminal action against the former owners.
“There was no money to do the basic maintenance. There was no one to dig graves for families. It was a tough situation all around,” said Mudd.
Mudd said that when no buyers for the cemetery came forward Cumberland Township initiated a condemnation procedure and took possession of the property. Cumberland then transferred the property to Adams County which also purchased a parcel at the corner of Routed 30 and Kinsey Drive in a bankruptcy proceeding.
“This the best option to turn it into a functional burying place,” said County Commissioner Marty Qually. “The County felt that although Cumberland was doing a lot of work, they didn’t have the resources.”
Mudd said the county is working to transfer the cemetery to a nonprofit 501(c)(13) cemetery company. “Having us in a temporary spot provides some support,” she said. “The county is hoping to get support from the community to provide enough funding to keep it going.”
The corner parcel on 30 and Kinsey that was purchased by the county for $25,000 could be sold to raise money to replenish the perpetual maintenance funds.
Qually said cemeteries are overseen by state board of real estate and that most are owned by church groups or nonprofits. “Only 1 percent are privately owned,” he said.
Qually said the county would continue to place flags on the graves of veterans buried in the cemetery every year.