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Volunteers, City Staff Answer the Call to Clean Up City-Owned Cemetery

A mix of volunteers and City of Santa Clara staff gave their time to help out on a hot day with upkeep and maintenance of the Agnews Historic Cemetery and Museum — located at 1250 Hope Dr., Santa Clara.

The City of Santa Clara said it is aware of concerns regarding the upkeep and maintenance of City-owned cemetery grounds and pulled staff resources from other divisions to assist with the immediate maintenance work. Due to the amount of work required to maintain the property, volunteers were called upon to help trim bushes, pick up tree debris, cut grass and pull weeds on Aug. 14.

Volunteers had varied motivations for helping out. Michael Reyes is a life-time resident of Santa Clara and he also works for the Parks and Recreation division of the City as a grounds maintenance worker.

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“I do this not only because it is a part of my job, but it is my responsibility to the community,” said Reyes.

Linda Knepper, who has been a Santa Clara resident for 32 years, also lent a hand.

“Agnews has an important history that is seen in the museum and the cemetery and is a part of Santa Clara’s history of progression,” said Knepper. “The early history of the mental health hospital, [Agnews State Hospital], through the cemetery and other uses is what makes it unique.”

Also helping was Ricardo Choy, who has been a resident of Santa Clara for 14 years, as well as Cynthia Bojorquez, who works for the City of Santa Clara as an Assistant City Manager.

The cleanup even brought out new Santa Clara resident Martine Janah, who moved to the area from Los Angeles a little over a year ago. Janah explained that she did not know Agnews museum and cemetery existed until she volunteered. She now feels compelled to see as many historical sites and missions as possible and help out where needed.

Santa Clara is also preparing for another volunteer cleanup day on Saturday, Oct. 5 at Mission City Memorial Park (MCMP) — located at 420 N. Winchester Blvd., Santa Clara — from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. To volunteer, contact Phil Orr at 408-615-3790 or email Cemetery@SantaClaraCA.gov or in person at Mission City Memorial Park.

“The amount of labor required to accomplish the more detailed grounds maintenance at MCMP has recently increased with the discontinued use of Roundup,” said the City in a Aug. 14 press release. “Three full-time grounds maintenance staff have been supporting the MCMP. To improve MCMP maintenance, the City recently hired two additional part-time staff. The City is reviewing long term permanent staffing levels and evaluating alternatives to chemical use strategies that are more efficient for maintaining the MCMP in the long-term.”

If you have questions, contact the Parks & Recreation Department at 408-615-2260 or email parksandrecreation@santaclaraca.gov. Learn more about the cleanup efforts on the City’s website.

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Kaiser Permanente

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