El Paso

Concerns over weeds, unkempt conditions at far east El Paso cemetery

Cemetery concerns

EL PASO, Texas - An ABC-7 viewer called recently to complain about poor upkeep of the grounds at Evergreen East Cemetery.

The cemetery is located in far East El Paso, just past Loop 375, at 12400 East Montana.

Irene Montoya has been visiting the gravesite of her mother, Maria de Jesus Perez, for the past 27 years. And she's never seen the grounds at Evergreen East in worse condition than she has in the past few months.

"On the Saturday before Easter Sunday, I came out and the weeds were at least a foot high," Montoya said. "I remember driving up and looking and thinking, 'Oh my god! What's happening here?'"    

Montoya said she's complained before, with little response, from the cemetery. After paying about $1,000 for her mother's plot, she said she expected more.

"Part of the money we pay into purchasing, goes into a perpetual care maintenance fund," Montoya said. "That's their agreement, they would take care of the grounds and water and keep up with it."

As ABC-7 entered Evergreen East, crews spotted a dying pine tree. And once inside, dozens more were spotted.

ABC-7 noticed the grounds were finally being mowed, but weeds still remained high between headstones. Then the location manager of Evergreen East, Velia Lozano, came out to speak with Montoya.

"We actually took over the cemetery, I believe, in late 2015," Lozano explained to Montoya, pointing out the cemetery has been under new management, Service Corporation International, out of Houston. "They are working on it and they are working to improve the grounds."

Lozano declined comment to ABC-7, but Service Corporation International sent this statement: "We're committed to providing families with a well-maintained environment for visitation and remembrance. An attractive and serene environment is best attained through regular maintenance of the cemetery grounds."

Montoya said she'd like to see the cemetery "keep with their agreement, that they're going to keep the grounds clean and mow them and at least they can do that when the holidays are coming up."

Service Corporation International encouraged anyone with further concerns about the grounds at Evergreen East to contact the company directly.

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