Unless you’re in the cemetery business, you’re probably thinking, “Who cares?” However, as you will see, distressed cemeteries affect us all, in some way, shape, or form. (The photos I've included here are from cemeteries in other states, not Delaware.)
The most common fix an old cemetery can find itself in is that it is full, and can no longer accept burials. Therefore revenue comes to an end, as does the cemetery’s business. Except for one thing – the graves of those already interred need continual care. Even if the people who purchased the graves and PAID for continued upkeep, a cemetery may be hard-pressed to provide this long-term.
So long as the cemetery is registered in the State of Delaware with the Division of Public Health of the Department of Health and Social Services, it can apply every two years for a grant of up to $10, 000. The Distressed Cemetery Fund is funded by adding $2.00 to the state fee for each copy of a certificate of death. Now get this for being progressive - A volunteer may register an abandoned cemetery! I know of two Friends groups that are associated with formerly abandoned Delaware cemeteries that have received the grant.
"Cemeteries are essential elements of societies' collective history, providing fascinating insight into past burial customs, religious beliefs, cultural and ethnic influences, community origins and development, and landscape design principles. Although virtually every remnant from the beginnings of a town or city may be lost, cemeteries often remain as some of the last tangible links to the past.
In Delaware, many prominent historical cemeteries such as Dover's John Wesley Methodist Episcopal Cemetery and Wilmington's Riverview Cemetery (maintained respectively by the Dover Air Force Base and the Friends of Historic Riverview Cemetery) have been preserved due to the efforts of governmental agencies, private organizations, and individuals. Other historical cemeteries, unfortunately, are vulnerable to the threats of neglect, vandalism, and development." - Department of State - Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
"A bureaucratic form of grave-robbing is dishonoring the dead whose final resting places have been defiled by vandals, say furious cemetery officials across the city."