Woodland Gate House Now
On April 13, 2008 I showed this old foto of the Gate House of Woodland Cemetery from Jule Spohn of the Old Newark Group. Jule was concerned that further neglect of that structure could lead to its loss to the city.
On August 20th I searched out that Gate House (at Brenner and Rose Streets in central Newark) to show its current condition. The foto above is from inside the cemetery. The fotos below are from outside.
A few days later, I received The Council Monitor, a glossy 16-page report, in the mail, and what should be on the back cover but an item titled "Cemetery Gets Much-Needed Cleanup" under an upper but smaller headline, "So What Happened?"
YOU CAME TO THE COUNCIL. YOU STATED YOUR CONCERNS. SO, WHAT HAPPENED?I found an online version of some of this language — after I had already typed most of it, since "the council monitor newark" did not produce an online version of that publication (and why the heck not?). Oddly, there are no clickable links in that electronic press release. I did my own Google searches on those entities and assume that "I.Y.O." is the International Youth Organization ("one of the leading multi-service community-based, non-profit agencies serving disadvantaged youth and their families in Newark"). S.O.S. in 2004 was "a new gang intervention and prevention organization formed by Bloods and Crips, who pleaded for jobs and assistance in turning around their lives". In May of this year, S.O.S. participated in a Green Home Construction Project on Nairn Place (about 6 blocks from Woodland Cemetery). I found nothing about HERUs Army or Citizens Against Crime.
At a Newark Municipal [will they please call it "City"?] Council meeting in May, dozens of residents spoke out about the neglected and forgotten Woodland Cemetery. This privately-owned property was being used as a dumping ground instead of a burial ground.
Spearheaded by South Ward Councilman Oscar S. James II and community leader Keith Bush, over 60 members of the community took the initiative to clean up the area around Woodland Cemetery on June 6.
From 9 a.m. to noon, each person pitched in to help remove the debris and trash that had collected over many years. [Note that in my prior post on this topic I mention that News 12 said there had recently been a cleanup, then, in 2008.] The volunteers cleaned from Rose Street and Bergen Street, working their way to 10th Street. More than thirty bags of garbage were removed from the area. The City of Newark Department of Property Clearance provided necessary tools, and the Sanitation Department provided buckets and a dump truck.
"I'm encouraged by the fact that so many members of the community were inspired to come out and help, and I am impressed with what we were able to accomplish by simply working together. This effort should be replicated throughout the city," said Councilman James.
In addition to the community members in attendance, volunteers from the following organizations also participated in the clean up [sic]: the offices of Council President Mildred C. Crump and Councilman Carlos M. Gonzalez; I.Y.O.; Saving Our Selves (S.O.S.); HERUs Army; Citizens Against Crime (C.A.C); and the Newark City Clerk’s Office.
If it took only 3 hours to clean up the entire cemetery, you'd think it wouldn't take much effort to keep it clean thereafter. Perhaps Newark needs more sanitation police to head off recontamination of cleared sites. We could use the money from fines for dumping and littering to reduce the budget deficit. And work crews formed from convicted litterers/dumpers could make short work of cleaning up many sites all over the city.
By the way, I was recently reviewing very old emails and ran across a link from Gaetano to a "My Newark" piece by Melba Moore that is still online. In it, she says:
Our house was on Rose Street, across from Woodlawn Cemetery, and I was thrilled to see we had a backyard."Woodlawn". In an article in the Downtown Newark Guide in The [Newark] Star-Ledger. If Ms. Moore remembered wrong, that's one thing, but shouldn't there have been at least a note like "[sic; should be 'Woodland']"? Since that might embarrass Ms. Moore, an editor should have made a courtesy correction without drawing attention to the error. But if the error was the Star-Ledger's, that's pretty disgraceful. As I say, this is still online. A correction now would be late but good nonetheless. "Better late than never."