Family members upset at conditions at Sarasota Memorial Park

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Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013 4:32 pm | Updated: 9:01 pm, Sat Mar 2, 2013.

SARASOTA - A Sarasota family says the conditions at their loved one's grave site aren't allowing them to rest in peace.

"It should be a place where family can come and remember and enjoy being with their loved ones," said Sue Norris.

Norris got extremely emotional when speaking about Sarasota Memorial Park, the cemetery both her grandparents and her father are buried.  "The conditions of the ground have deteriorated to the point where there is just patches with nothing but sand."

According to Norris, from the time she get out of her car she's walking through sand.  But that's just the beginning of her concern, because she says she's also dealing with ant infestations and a leaky roof has also created problems at her dads memorial bench.   "Rains come especially during the summer and it leaks off the roof and stains it."

Norris says she has reached out to cemetery management and the Florida Division of Funeral, Cemetery & Consumer Services, that the organization who set guidelines for the industry. But to no avail.

So, she says they've taken maters into their own hands.  "On the anniversary of my father's death, my mother got some help from friends and family and was able to put rocks down because the cemetery is just not doing it."

But not everyone agrees with Norris' views.  "l'm happy with it, my parents have been here for a number of years and its quite and peaceful, and very easy to get to, you can come any time you want. stay as long as you want" said Karen.

But Karen does admit, conditions at the cemetery could be better.  "Of course there is room for improvement on the grounds but l'm sure that will come."

But Norris isn't so optimistic, saying "The cemetery has told us they are doing everything they can to improve the conditions but we don't notice it."

Cemetery officials say they are aware of Norris' concerns, and are willing to make the necessary corrections the state says they need to make.  But, Florida Division of Funeral, Cemetery & Consumer services says they do not regulate grass growth.

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  • jstotler09 posted at 10:32 pm on Fri, May 16, 2014.

    jstotler09 Posts: 1

    [sad]I don't get to Florida as often as I would like, but every time I visit my son in Ft. Myers, I make sure to get to Sarasota. During the last 5 years the condition of the Cemetery has gone down now to it's lowest. We used to stay a Motel across the street when my parents were living, so I know what it looked like prior to Mother's death in 1964, also stayed there until Windy and Neva sold, Uncle Otie's was our favorite breakfast stop and we bought flowers there as well. In April my son was in Bradenton and stopped at his "Nana's" grave, he called in tears. He took pictures and e-mailed them to me, it drove me to tears. I called that Monday and got answering machine wit a promise of return call within 24 hours. Well it didn't happen but I got a call on Wed., when I tried to call back got same message, and yet to talk to a person, son never had his calls returned. We were promised perpetual care, this is not CARE., Even with the sever weather we have had here in Virginia, our Cemeteries all look 100% better than this.

  • duncanmc831 posted at 11:04 am on Thu, Feb 6, 2014.

    duncanmc831 Posts: 1

    I would like to share the experience that happened to me. I went to Sarasota Memorial Park today, February 6th, to visit my father on his birthday. My father passed away in 2006 and we had him buried at SMP. As I entered, the place was deplorable. The office was closed, yet it was 10 AM, and the only person at the site, a grounds keeper NOT attending to anything aside from his cigarette, explained he had no knowledge of why the office was closed. "They SHOULD be open, but no one told me why they aren't."

    I asked him if he could help me find my father's grave plot as it has been several years since I visited. He shrugged his shoulders and told me no and that was the responsibility of the (nonexistant) office worker.

    After driving around, I approached the worker again and let him know that a homeless person had set up camp near the section I believed my father was in, and that I did not feel comfortable approaching that area to look for the plot. The worker said he would get someone on it. After 20 minutes of looking for my father and not locating him, I realized no one had handled the homeless man. I called Sheriff's office myself and within 10 minutes two police officers came to remove the vagrant. This was not the experience I was expecting when I set out to have a personal remembrance of my father. I do not know what has happened to the management and upkeep of this facility in the past eight years, but something needs to change.

    As a side note, an office woman finally showed up 40 minutes after the cops (most likely after she heard the voicemail I left on the telephone number listed on the door). She aggressively apologized stating her mother just passed away and that she was in the process of flying up north. I do apologize for lack of sympathy (mainly because I believe she was lying to overshine the obvious mistakes and neglect) but a woman in a position that handles death all day long should have a better ability to manage her business life and a death in her own family better.


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