The Fall River City Council wants to separate cemeteries from the Park Board’s governance, but the Board of Park Commissioners are unanimously opposed to the idea.
Commissioner David Rebello said it was “disheartening” that the council would pursue this course without first speaking to Park Commission members or attending its meetings, adding that not one councilor has ever come to a session. City Councilor Linda Perreira proposed the separation since the board had allowed the removal of grave site decorations and stone planters from the historic Oak Grove Cemetery last year.
A home rule petition would be needed to separate parks and cemeteries. The state of Massachusetts in 1902 placed cemeteries under the care of local park boards. Rebello feels the move would create, in his words, “a lot of unknows” since the two entities share labor and some responsibilities, like the maintenance of trees, which falls under the park board.
The council has sent the matter over to the city’s Corporation Counsel Joe Macy for review. Rebello said the board drafted a letter to Macy objecting to the separation.