Volunteers from the Interact Club consisting of students from Lake Placid High School and Lake Placid Middle School under the guidance of Deputy Michael Brod joined the Keep Highway Park Beautiful Commission, the Highway Park Neighborhood Council and local volunteers to clear brush and overgrowth from the historic Highway Park Cemetery.
Almost unreadable headstones lay broken, toppled and overgrown by weeds. Large trees with deep roots are shifting monuments and toppling other headstones. “Each of those stones has an interesting story to it and it is important to maintain that piece of our town’s history. We must not let it be buried, literally, again,” said Evelyn Colon, executive director of the Highway Park Neighborhood Council, in appeals to the community to help restore the cemetery.
Over 15 volunteers, most from within the Highway Park Community, came to help with this cleanup. Debris, shrubbery and trash filled 29 over-sized garbage bags. The 20-foot flagpole holding the U.S. flag, which had been damaged in a storm, was removed to be replaced in the very near future. Loose stones were picked up, grass was mowed, weeds trimmed away from the graves, and trees were trimmed.
Unincorporated towns with no budgets have often had little to no money to improve their cemeteries, leading to disrepair, crumbling gravestones, overgrown grass, persistent weeds, and no irrigation to sustain flowers or grass. This cleanup is one of many planned activities to restore the Highway Park Cemetery. It is hoped that with this and subsequent efforts, the cemetery will be better preserved to include historic signage and fencing.
The Highway Park Neighborhood Council, Keep Highway Park Beautiful and the Highway Park Ministerial Alliance are working together to beautify and restore dignity to our cemetery. Donations are welcome. For more information or to volunteer, please call Tiffany Green, HPNG president, at 863-840-2995.