~Submitted by David Manugian, Director, Bedford Public Works
Many residents see Shawsheen Cemetery as a valuable asset of the community, both for its primary purpose as a place of mourning and reflection for those whose loved ones are interred there, as well as a safe and accessible location for walking. As such, the Town strives to provide a balance for its different visitors throughout the year.
Per article 11 of the Town Bylaws, the Select Board is in charge of the Town’s cemeteries, and has authorized the Public Works Department to administer them including cemetery lot sales, interments, placing of monuments, and maintenance. The Rules and Regulations of the Shawsheen Cemetery provide the standards for their fair and impartial administration.
The Rules and Regulations identify that visitors should avoid activities that are considered unbecoming to a sacred place, including walking dogs, loud or boisterous talking, and use of alcohol or narcotics. To help inform users of the Cemetery, Public Works will be installing signs at the Cemetery entrances with this information and a link to the Town’s web page.
In addition, the Rules and Regulations identify the decorations, plants, and shrubs that are allowed at graves. They allow certain adornments, at certain times of year, while also restricting or prohibiting other items that affect the overall maintenance, appearance, and visitor experience of the Cemetery. Adornments such as shepherd hooks, fences, urns, and decorative accessories are in violation of the Rules and Regulations and impede the Town’s ability to property maintain the grounds. Public Works requests that adornments be placed and removed in accordance with the Rules and Regulations, and after March 1, 2023 will be removing and disposing of any remaining items in anticipation of the annual spring cleanup.
For more information on the Shawsheen Cemetery or its Rules and Regulations please visit the Town web site at https://www.bedfordma.gov/381/Cemetery-Division.