PACHECO (CBS SF) — Disheartened neighbors of an East Bay cemetery showing its age say its the victim of neglect.
Twice a day, Brenda Kruse walks her dog around the Pacheco Cemetery, which dates back to the mid-19th century. She gets an up close look at what’s wrong.
“The cemetery is in very bad disrepair,” she said.
Animal burrows pepper the 5-acre site. Overgrown weeds cover some burial markers and some headstones are broken.
Kruse says she feels for family who have loved ones there.
“I know how I feel when I go visit my loved ones,” she said. “It should be kept nice. Anything — something than what it is now.”
Owner Eric Biano says the cemetery is actually an improvement.
“It may not look like much right now, but it’s better than it was,” he said, adding that before, “the gates were locked — nobody could get in here.”
Bianco says the previous owner closed the cemetery for a decade. He claims no one else wanted to invest the time and money for a turnaround.
“It’s a problem cemetery,” Bianco said. “Records aren’t good. The grounds aren’t good, so it just took somebody to at least get the gates reopened.”
His main business is a crematory on site. The cemetery doesn’t make any money so he says he’s paid for a lot of the upgrades himself.
“We don’t sell new graves, we’re not looking for new burials,” he said. “So there’s no income off of the cemetery. It’s only expenses.”
Kruse calls the site a landmark and says “there should be more pride of ownership.”
And while some neighbors are outspoken, the people you’d expect to be most upset — family with loved ones there — told KPIX 5 by phone they don’t mind the mess, saying even if it’s not pretty, at least it’s open.
The owner says he is planning another improvement in the future — a sprinkler system.