UTICA, N.Y. - New Forest Cemetery in Utica is moving forward with new board members.
On Thursday, cemetery officials held an emergency meeting to vote on the fate of the property.
Over 300 people voted to reorganize the board, recruit new board members, and relieve the previous members of their duties.
Debra Adamkowski is now a former board member. She says she was amazed at the amount of people who showed up for the meeting on Thursday.
"Not in my wildest imagination did I think that was possible,” Adamkowski said.
At the meeting, 16 people volunteered to be members on the new board.
"They’re going to find it a challenge but I hope they find it interesting enough to continue," Adamkowski said.
Adamkowski will be around to help out at first and get things situated. She knows there is a lot of problems that need to be fixed.
“You have to see it on the day to day basis and how much of a struggle it was for the people in charge to get just get through a day’s operation," Adamkowski said.
She says there are a number of factors that led up to this point. Several board members and key staff have left or are leaving, which left only two members to take care of mowing over 30 acres of land. Equipment is old, and there are financial troubles.
"You go and you expect to see the lawn mowed and it isn’t, and then you find out the tractor is gone or the tractor is disabled, so it’s a sad situation and I hope the new board is able to come up with some great ideas.” Adamkowski said “We’ve got debt, we have little or no operating cash, we haven’t had any new sales or burials by choice until this was resolved so now, we’re basically back in business.”
New board members, like Jeremy Hayes, says they are ready for the challenge.
“I want to just help people out," Hayes said. “My whole goal is to work with the new people we have to fulfill any problems that are there, any type of future developments, plot sales, maintenance on the property, we just want it to be there."
Hayes and his wife have plots at New Forest Cemetery. They don't want their final resting place to be in a place that no one is taking care of, that is why he stepped in to help.
For the past three weeks, Hayes, his brother in law ans son have been working in the cemetery. They have been mowing, landscaping, repairs, and assisting with things on the property.
The first board meeting with the new members will be July 10 at 6 p.m. at New Forest Cemetery.