Evergreen Memorial Park | Troubled Cemetery

Merced, CA, USA The cemetery is located on "B" Street near Highway 99.

Evergreen has been in foreclosure since October, but attorneys say a court ruling this week has finally cleared the way for the cemetery to go to the highest bidder.

Ralph Gonzales: "It's a shame to see our cemetery like this."

Ralph Gonzales has spent the past year tending to his loved ones graves and pleading for someone to take responsibility of the cemetery where they're buried.

Ralph Gonzales: "My mother and father are out here, my baby sister, she's out here also. And also my beautiful, beloved wife's out here."

Several families began complaining about terrible conditions at /*Evergreen Memorial Park*/ after the owners surrendered their operating license last June. Four months later the property went into foreclosure. But attempts to auction it off were postponed because of a lawsuit filed by investors who say Evergreen owed them more than two million dollars. This week the parties reached a settlement, and a judge lifted the order that prevented the cemetery from being sold.

Ralph Gonzales: "It's a big plus for all of us and the community that the progress is going forward through the legal court system now."

Evergreen's current owner could not be reached for comment. But Gonzales is hoping a new owner will take over and restore Evergreen to its former glory. He's also hoping the governor will sign a bill approved by the state legislature that would allow a temporary manager to maintain troubled cemeteries using endowment care funds.

Tim Wilson: "I cut the lawn, I open and close graves."

Right now Tim Wilson is acting as a one man maintenance crew. He says he was hired by Evergreen's owner in March, but still hasn't been paid for his work.

Tim Wilson: "I figure maybe now whoever comes in can access these funds and pay me, but I'm still going to be here, good or bad, I'll be here."

Family members are holding a meeting right now at the Merced Civic Center to discuss the latest developments in court and in the state legislature.


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