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WICHITA, Kansas – The place where many families pay their respects to lost loved ones is not getting the respect it deserves according to a Wichita father.
Donald Ryder has three children buried at Maple Grove Cemetery, 1000 N. Hillside, in northeast Wichita.
“Liberty and Justice, they were a miscarriage. Jonathan was killed by a drunk driver before he was born,” said Ryder. “There’s flowers all over and there’s grass like a foot tall. There’s weeds like two and a half feet tall and to us it was like a disgrace and disrespect.”
Ryder shares a plot of land with other families who’ve lost children. It was donated to Wesley Medical Center to provide affordable burials.
KSN questioned Joshua Anderson, the grounds superintendent at Maple Grove Cemetery, about the neglect.
“We have 45 fully developed acres, there’s between 22,000 and 25,000 stones that we have to mow and trim around,” said Anderson. “I’ve got three gentlemen working full time and it’s not near enough to take care of what we need to take care.”
Maple Grove is a non-profit cemetery. It relies on donations, burials and other sales for its upkeep, and workers wages are rarely included.
According to Anderson the land is cared for in cycles. It takes at least one week for two mowers to cut the lawn and two to three weeks for the staff of four to trim around the more than 20,000 tombstones.
Ryder filed a complaint with the hospital and the cemetery. Despite the quick response to his less than 24 hour complaint, he’s still not satisfied.
Maple Grove said it encourages family members and volunteers to help with the upkeep. Ryder told KSN that he would lend a helping hand.