Residents of a local city are questioning a local graveyard's decision to clear flowers, decorations, and sentimental mementos from all graves.

Residents from the City of Oneida are criticizing St. Patrick's Cemetery, located on Farrier Avenue., for how the organization recently cleared decorations off the graves it tends.

A post to a privately-owned Facebook group about the city has gone viral, sparking an intense debate.

"Blew My Mind. Just Horrible."

Courtesy Google Maps
Courtesy Google Maps
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A resident warned on the privately-run Oneida for Change Facebook Group that the cemetery has cleared away "everything that isn't metal" from the gravestones and left it in a huge pile by a garage.

"It's all in a huge pile of dirt, garbage, rotting flowers and decorations. I am completely disgusted that this is allowed to happen," the resident warned and shared pictures of the mound.

The same resident claimed they went through the pile and unearthed memorial plaques and family photos, which they say they're now working to find the families that may want the mementos back.

The post sparked outrage, with over 100 comments pouring in within 24 hours about the incident. Some residents stepped up to defend St. Patrick's Cemetery while others called the move "disgusting."

Oneida Residents React to Graveyard Cleaning

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The post attracted several comments in support of the cemetery. Those on St. Patrick's side said the organization gave advance warning to residents the cleaning was going to happen.

A resident shared a photo of a recent church bulletin that warned cleaning would take place around April 1 and residents with buried loved ones were warned to "remove everything artificial from all graves."

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The items were moved to the cemetery's east side and the church gave the community until May 1 to collect their belongings before they were properly disposed.

"This is necessary for keeping the cemetery looking respectable and for the safety of our groundskeepers," the bulletin continued, adding the cemetery has banned all artificial grave adornments.

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strathroy from Getty Images Signature
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Other residents said the cemetery has a sign posted at the entrance that lays out what kind of decorations are permitted. The sign says "displays or plantings not maintained will be removed" and that they must be placed no more than a foot away from the headstone.

Additionally, the cemetery bans all bushes, shrubs, and trees.

Those against the move believe the cleaning could have been better executed. One resident complained that the groundskeepers should have made individual bags per headstone to make retrieval easier.

Others said putting out a bulletin through the church wasn't enough, as the family members of the buried may not be parishioners.

Another resident said that those who already paid for the plot should be free to do what they want with it.

Those in the middle felt the clearing could have been executed better with more compassion for the families, but felt that the rules weren't unreasonable.

This Story Will Be Updated...

This is a developing story and more information will be added in future updates. Townsquare Utica has reached out to Oneida Mayor Rick Rossi and the St. Patrick's Cemetery Association for comment and to clarify the situation.

The story will be updated as we hear back from them.

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