Governor signs Rep. Manweller bill creating state historic cemetery capital grant program

A measure creating a state historic cemetery capital grant program was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee Thursday.

House Bill 2637 was introduced by 13th District Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg, in an effort to address the growing problem of decaying and abandoned cemeteries.

“Cemeteries have seen a decline in dollars for maintenance and operation due to an increase in alternatives to burial. This legislation addresses a critical need for upgrading and reducing operating and maintenance costs for our cemeteries,” said Manweller. “There is a lot of history tied to our older cemeteries. It isn’t uncommon for many of them to be the resting place of those who served in our military. I am pleased we have found a solution to help preserve and maintain them.”

The bill creates the Washington state Historic Cemetery Preservation Capital Grant program in the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation.

“This legislation allows cemetery property owners, local governments and nonprofits to apply for small grants which they could use to lower their maintenance and operation costs,” said Manweller.
According to the historical preservation department, more than 100 cemeteries are poorly maintained or not being maintained at all.

The new law becomes effective on June 8.

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