Mayor Pro Tem Suggests Turning Manteca Cemetery Into Park, Raising Concerns About Dead

MANTECA (CBS13) — A proposal floated at a Manteca City Council meeting would convert a troubled cemetery into a park, raising concerns from residents.

Rick Taberna says he stops by the East Union Cemetery every day to visit his grandparents’ gravesite. And every day he notices the dying grass, some of it overgrown.

CBS13 spotted leaky faucets, gopher holes and browning landscape.

Manteca Mayor Pro Tem Steve DeBrum also noticed the conditions and suggested turning that cemetery into a city park.

“What are they going to do? Exhume all the bodies out here,” Taberna said.

It’s an idea that some say leaves them with a lot of questions.

“If they turn it into a city park as it stands right now, who’s going to monitor it?” said Mary Smith.

She says currently only volunteers take care of the property.

“They’ve been relying for operating costs on you know donations basically for water for doing any ceremonies over there,” she said.

In 2008, the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Cemetery and Funeral Bureau revoked the cemetery’s license. Articles from the time say the cemetery ran into financial problems years ago and couldn’t pay its insurance.

Smith says some of Manteca’s founding fathers are buried in the cemetery. And some believe they should rest in peace.

DeBrum declined to talk about his idea on camera, saying he has other ideas for the cemetery, but didn’t want to elaborate until he spoke to the cemetery’s property management.

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