All Things Maine
All Things Maine

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Grave Situation at Funtown USA

Bob Phillips comes from his home in Pembroke, N. H., to Maine a few times each year to visit his family's burial ground off Route 1 in Saco. The little cemetery is now completely surrounded by Funtown Splashtown USA. Phillips alleges that park owner Ken Cormier has been bending the law to expand into the graveyard.
"He's been excavating within inches of it," Phillips said of Cormier's expansion project, which will add two seven-story water slides to the park. The cemetery lot, which is 25 feet square, contains the graves of Phillips' grandparents and 15 other relatives, including three World War II veterans.

Cormier contends state law allows the 25-foot construction buffer to be measured from the nearest headstone rather than from the edge of the cemetery property. Phillips disagrees, as do several state officials. But an apparent legislative oversight has made it virtually impossible for Phillips to protect the 150-year-old burial ground.

"I can't get the city to enforce it. I can't get the state to enforce it," he said. "All I can do is stand on the sidelines." [Link]


At 6:06 AM, November 21, 2006, Blogger Louise said...

This seems very wrong- right up there with the cemetery at the edge of I-95, south of Portland, that a vehicle is going to end up in someday...

I found a few years ago that one small cemetery from the late 1800's was actually paved over to create Rt# 41 connecting Winthrop and Readfield. The graves were left as were, and the headstones moved about a quarter mile into the woods and placed together there.

While old maps show the cemetery (it was on the town line), I don't know if any records of the graves contained within was saved by either town. Seems a shame and disrespectful to me.

At 12:46 PM, November 21, 2006, Blogger Chris said...

As a long-time genealogist, I have to agree that this sort of thing is unacceptable. A small family graveyard in my hometown was bulldozed many years ago to make a parking lot. I know that some relatives of mine were buried there, but their stones are now lost.


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