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Residents concerned about upkeep at McAllen cemetery

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Some Valley residents are raising concerns about the upkeep at McAllen's La Piedad Cemetery.

La Piedad Cemetery in McAllen has been a staple in the community since the 1800s.

Sorina Cardinas and her sisters visit their family members regularly, but recently, they've voiced concerns that they worry have fallen on deaf ears.

"It was not like this all the time,” said Cardinas, a McAllen resident. “La Piedad used to be a very beautiful place to come and see your loved ones and grieve for them."

Cardinas says she's seen grave sites damaged, which she thinks may have come from equipment used to mow the grass.

"I went to go see my grandma and I noticed that the vase on her stone is broken,” Cardinas said.

Aside from broken headstones, Cardinas feels more maintenance is needed.

But La Piedad Cemetery Board President Diego Torres says with only three groundskeepers to care for 10 acres, and limited finances, they're doing what they can to keep the historic cemetery presentable.

"We want to make this a pride to our community, especially our Latin American and Mexican community,” Torres said. “This is theirs."

Torres says he has family members who are buried at the cemetery, as well, and he understands the passion people have for their loved ones who are buried there.

However, Torres says lack of space is another concern. Normally, the cemetery would have approximately 20 burials within a year, but due to the pandemic, that number grew to around 150.

And with the cemetery being funded entirely through donations and plot purchases, Torres says it's not their responsibility to care for every family's plots.

"It is their lot,” Torres said. “They have to take care of it."

Although he would like to see things expand, Torres says for now, they are doing the best they can.

Torres also predicts that in about nine years, the cemetery will be at capacity for burials, and urges the public to help them come up with a solution.

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