Mount Pisgah Cemetery in Wrightsville, York County, has fallen into disrepair over the years, and no one seems to know who the owner is.
Borough officials have done extensive property searches, both online and at the York County Courthouse, and they have come up empty-handed.
The cemetery was the subject of discussion at Wrightsville Borough Council’s May 6 meeting. Because the borough can’t determine ownership, council is exploring either permanently taking care of it or taking ownership, council President Eric J. White said in an email.
The cemetery, he said, is “primarily a cemetery filled with soldiers from the Civil War and beyond.”
“Wrightsville Borough Council has multiple veterans serving on council, and we all have a strong ethic of supporting our military heroes, both living and the honored dead,” White wrote in the email.
The only reason that grass doesn’t grow higher than headstones is because volunteers from American Legion Post. No. 469 care for the cemetery, with Borough Council’s endorsement, according to White.
But council doesn’t want that to be a long-term solution. Vice President Michael Gromling has reviewed the Pennsylvania Borough Code, which lays out the legal responsibilities for boroughs. He said the first step is for Wrightsville to give notice by posting the property and announcing the intent of the borough to care for it.
If no one comes forward as the owner in 30 days, the borough can begin maintaining the cemetery.
“We don’t want to get charged with trespassing just because we’re going down to mow the grass,” Councilman Fred Smith said.
Smith is also a board member of the Wrightsville Cemetery Association, which owns and maintains Fairview Cemetery. He said the association might be interested in caring for Mount Pisgah if the borough makes a formal request.