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Repairs to Adams Cemetery reach 80 percent completion

Date: 12/19/2011

Dec. 19, 2011

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM — Repairs to Adams Cemetery on Tinkham Road have ceased for the year, but a great deal of progress has been made, according to Cemetery Commissioner Philip Hamer.

The cemetery, which was heavily damaged in the June 1 tornado, has been undergoing repairs over the past six months to replace trees and repair headstones, some of which are nearly 200 years old. Now it has been essentially restored to proper working order.

“We are about 80 percent done with the restoration. The rest will have to wait until 2012,” he said. “But all evidence of the original tornado damage is gone. If someone who didn’t know the cemetery before the tornado came to visit, they wouldn’t know anything had happened at all. It’s really come along.”

Hamer said monetary issues are as much a part of the cessation in work as the winter weather.

“We have to stop for the winter because we’ve just about spent as much money as I am comfortable spending,” he said, explaining that the Cemetery Commission has received essentially no fiscal aid from the town and the repairs have been conducted through the use of reserve funds.

Hamer added that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been able to lend a hand.

“FEMA has helped, but they will only pay for certain things that fall within very specific guidelines,” he said. “They helped us save some historic headstones and they will pay for some of the tree removal.”

The commission has been able to replace all 84 headstones that were damaged in the storm and also repaired a large portion of the fence line that was destroyed.

Thirty-two new trees have also been planted.

“We got the trees in just before the winter deadline,” Hamer said. “Some of the trees are very unique. They’re not common species. We planted some trees that were typically planted 200 years ago to keep with the historic feel of the cemetery.”

Among the projects yet to be completed are the replacement of the rail fence and the addition of more trees. The commission will attempt to secure Community Preservation Act funding in order to complete the work, but will also accept monetary donations for tree replacement.

“We’re still looking for tree donation money,” Hamer said. “We have gotten a good number of donations from people in town that have allowed us to do a lot of what we’ve done so far, but we still are in need.”

Anyone interested in donating should send a check, made out to the Town of Wilbraham with mention of the Cemetery Commission in the memo section, to Town Hall, 240 Springfield St., Wilbraham, MA 01095.

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