Donna city cemetery gets massive overhaul following Action 4 report
A massive clean-up has been underway at the Donna City Cemetery over the last three days. The Public Works Department is transforming the landscape from unkept to unbelievably cleaner. I have to tell you the changes look incredible," Action 4's Ryan Wolf said to the city manager. "It's night and day out here." City Manager Oscar Ramirez kept his promise to Action 4 News after a Call 4 Action earlier in the week exposed graffiti, trash and overgrown grass at the cemetery. People said they could not find grave stones because of the poor maintenance in spots. Cutbacks forced the city to reduce manpower at the 11 acre cemetery to just one employee to clean for just four hours a day. "It doesn't excuse the fact that we didn't upkeep it but it's just a reminder of what we need to do on a daily basis," Oscar Ramirez, Donna's city manager said. The report on Action 4 News struck a chord with Public Works Director Frank De Los Rios. "I have my own mom buried here so it did strike a chord with me," he said. He helped to orchestrate the massive cleanup hours after it aired on Tuesday. "I brought a total of almost four to six employees out here for the two to three days." The 600 percent increase in labor got the job done. There's no more graffiti or trash at the cemetery on South Avenue between 13th and 15th Streets. The tall grass and brush was also removed. Grave stones can now be read. But the additional crews won't able to continue because of the city's budget already in place for the year. But Frank says he has a plan to keep the cemetery looking the way it should. "I'm going to start by getting more volunteers to help and also the people with the probation department," he said. For people like Ezequiel Barrera, who have loved ones buried at the cemetery, the new look is a welcomed sight. "I'm glad they did it," he said. "I'm glad you showed up." Anyone who would like to volunteer to help clean the cemetery can contact the Public Works Department by calling (956) 464-6960.