With the arrival of summer comes an opportunity for New Canaan to tackle the restoration, in some cases much-needed, of the town’s 20-plus cemeteries.
The Board of Selectmen at its regular meeting Tuesday unanimously backed the submission of a grant application for the state-run Neglected Cemetery Account Grant Program, for $2,000.
The opportunity to receive the funds is “first-come, first-serve,” according to the town Administrative Officer Tom Stadler.
“It’s not a lot of money, but it certainly helps,” he said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. “We are keeping our fingers crossed.”
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectmen Kit Devereaux and Nick Williams voted 3-0 in favor of making the application.
Williams noted difficulties on Memorial Day regarding the visibility of names on some veterans’ headstones.
“We put the flags on the graves of the veterans,” he recalled. “It could be difficult to find the names on the list we were given due to plant overgrowth.”
As opposed to spending money on restoring headstones, which require professional care, most of it will be spent on lawn mowing, removing fallen trees and limbs, and gate repair, according to Director of Public Works Tiger Mann.
Further analysis is needed of the cemetery sites before it can be determined exactly which cemeteries the grants will be applied to, he said.
“We try to go in before all the major holidays, like Memorial Day and the Fourth of July,” Mann said. “But we don’t take care of every single site.”
Smaller cemeteries are principally taken care of by either neighboring residents or groups such as Boy Scouts, according to officials.
Devereaux commended DPW for its efforts in finding funding for such endeavors.
“I think it’s terrific that you are applying for grants,” she said.
Now that the application has received approval by the Board of Selectmen, the department will have to proceed by submitting paperwork to the state including certified minutes from the meeting.