LONG BEACH (WLOX) -- A gentle breeze and wind chimes harmonize with the serenity of the Long Beach City Cemetery. Generations of families in Long Beach are buried at the cemetery, at the corner of Girard Avenue and First Street.
"My grandparents, father, all buried here," said the mayor of Long Beach.
Mayor Billy Skellie grew up across the street from these sacred grounds.
"It's part of us. We try to keep it maintained and something people are proud of when they go visit," said Mayor Skellie.
But the mayor says recently, it's been hard to cut the grass and beautify the grave sites, mainly on the west side of the cemetery.
"It's kind of gotten to where there are too many obstructions, too many figurines, and too many vases and benches that are not approved," said Mayor Skellie. "It's just getting very cluttered and a maintenance nightmare."
Overgrown grass thrives under concrete benches, and weeds wind their way around precious ornaments and personal mementos.
"We're looking at a bench, and three, four, five vases here," said the mayor as he pointed to an example. "We can't maintain it without having to hand-pull weeds just like at every location of the cemetery."
Only approved head stones, foot stones, and attached vases are allowed. The city is giving families 30 days to remove all the items that don't belong in the cemetery.
"We're not trying to be hard on anyone," Mayor Skellie said. "We know it's a time of terrible bereavement, and we're not trying to create any more grief for them. But there's a point where we're going to have to get, some of this has to get under control."
The mayor believes a clean, well-maintained cemetery should be a lasting tribute to those who rest there.
You have until June 5th to pick-up all the items at the cemetery that are not approved by city ordinance. After that, the city will remove the items and store them for 30 days. Any items that are not claimed will be thrown away.