A reader recently wrote Patch expressing disappointment with Waterside Cemetery's condition, and we relayed those concerns to Catherine Kobialka, the town's cemetery superintendent.
The reader, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the cemetery is no longer a place for solace and beautiful sunset views but a place of disappointment.
Brambles block water views, roads are crumbling, the grounds are littered with trash and the sitting wall along Locust Avenue is a danger to anyone who might sit there, the reader said.
The reader said the condition is not befitting a place where the town honors those who have served Marblehead home or away.
The superintendent concedes that there are some roads at Waterside in poor condition, and one in particular. But roads are slated for repaving.
" ... in the past, the Cemetery Department has put $100,000.00 of Perpetual Care interest towards our operating budget on a yearly basis," the superintendent said in an email Tuesday. "Unfortunately, due to the state of the economy that amount is no longer available for us to donate to the General Fund to help defer costs. "We still run on the same budget and the process is the same as it has always been. We are now using more funds from the General fund raised from taxation.
"Any development, repairs to buildings and roads as well as the purchase of equipment and vehicles has always come from the Sale of Lots Fund which is a non interest bearing fund which we use very carefully.
"I have only held the Superintendent’s position for a year and have many things on my list which I inherited. I have prioritized my list and will be getting to everything as time and money permit."
The superintendent said in an interview Monday that the sitting wall was repaired just recently.
As far as litter goes, the superintendent says the four cemetery laborers keep the grounds clean.
And as far as the vegetation growing along the banks goes, the superintendent said that is a case of Mother Nature taking root.
The trees can not be removed because they are preventing the side of the cemetery from eroding into the water.
The superintendent encourages people to call her with any complaints. It is a large site to maintian, 40 acres, and if they have missed an area that needs attention they want to know about it.
Catherine M. Kobialka
294 West Shore Drive
Marblehead, MA 01945
Monday - Friday
7 AM - 3 PM
Editor's note: The superintendent has provided us with detailed information on funding of the cemetery work. We have replaced our earlier synopsis of that funding mechanism, which included some inaccurate information.