Thursday, September 12, 2019

When will Floral Hills Memory Gardens in Huntington Township, Ross County, Ohio finally get an owner -- or even a receiver?


On September 7, 2019 - The Facebook page of "Clean Up Floral Hills Memory Gardens" -- that was created for the active but abandoned Floral Hills Memory Gardens cemetery situated in Huntington Township, Ross County, Ohio posted their most dire statement thus far pleading for the public's help.:
"Please don’t let the lack of action by the legal system destroy their resting place.  
Call, Fax & Email to demand action for the Ohio Dept of Commerce to “apply” to the Local Court to appoint a Temporary Trustee/Receiver for Floral Hills-Chillicothe. 
Attn: Kelly at Phone: 614-466-4100 
Fax: 614-644-0584

You are the only voice those resting here have to help secure & maintain their final resting places."

More details, written in 2013, that describe how this serious problem arose are found in the "About" Section on the "Clean Up Floral Hills Memory Gardens" Facebook Page. 
(Paraphrased below.):
 "A sad neglected Cemetery that is being forgotten by our leaders. The owners have abandoned it and the Township refuses to care for it. The Attorney Generals Office has filed suit against it....but it sits in the hands of the legal system unkempt.
 A cemetery that is located at 4284 US Route 23, Chillicothe, Ohio 45601. 
The owners were, Joseph Miller who filed Chapter 13 after fleeing to Nevada, and his partner, Ronald Downey, who has fled to Michigan. Neither has left any means of upkeep and care of the grounds, and are refusing to honor any of the prepaid services that have been purchased through the cemetery. 
The Attorney General filed a suit against the 2 owners in May 2012, with nothing of any significance being done to get a resolution to the problem. One of the items Mr Miller is trying to do is surrender the property in lieu of taxes owed. By ORC (Ohio Revised Code), the property would then be handed over to the Township where the cemetery property is located, which is in Huntington Township, Ross County.
 The problem is Huntington Township has refused to accept responsibility for the grounds due to the trustees claiming they are not financially able to maintain the grounds. They also state that they have sought guidance through their "Prosecutor" and have been advised that they do not have to take it. 
With all the legal issues aside, it is the attempt by this group to bring this tragic situation to the public and clean up the cemetery grounds; and find a resolution to further maintenance of the grounds."
Sadly, the entire situation has seriously worsened in six years despite the continuing efforts by all who have volunteered to help maintain the grounds and gravesites.  It isn't fair and it should not have to continue. 
"4767.11 Ceased operations."
"Upon receipt of information that the owner or person responsible for the operation of a registered cemetery or a cemetery that was required to be registered has ceased operation of that cemetery, the division of real estate in the department of commerce may investigate for purposes of determining the cemetery's current status.
If the division finds evidence that the cemetery has ceased operation and a municipal corporation or township has not assumed day-to-day management of the cemetery, the division may apply to the court of common pleas of the county in which the cemetery is located for appointment of a temporary receiver or trustee. The order appointing the temporary receiver or trustee shall order the trustee or trustees of the endowment care trust of the cemetery to make distributions to the receiver or trustee in accordance with section 1721.21 of the Revised Code.
The receiver shall only be paid from the income of interest and dividends in the endowment care trust being held pursuant to section 1721.21 of the Revised Code. The receiver may not invade the principal or capital gains of the trust.
Added by 132nd General Assembly File No. TBD, HB 168, §1, eff. 10/29/2018."
Contact information below :
OHDIVRealEstate on Twitter

Phone: 614-466-4100
Fax: 614-644-0584


Media Contact
Phone: 614-728-1930

My reply from the Huntington Township, Ross County, Ohio Trustees of September 8, 2019:

<> wrote:
"No, Huntington Township will not take over Floral Hills Cemetery.  If you would like to discuss this subject further, please attend our next Board meeting on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at 5:30 at the Township Fire Station."
Thanks for your inquiry,
Robin Snyder
 Below is my reply from Ohio Senate District No. 17 -  State Senator Bob Peterson in response to my message to him to ask for his support for the long-standing dire situation at the Floral Hills Memory Gardens.: 
Sharing a May 5, 2019 feature story by the "Chillicothe Gazette" about Floral Hills Memory Gardens.
Floral Hills Memory Gardens in Ross County deserves substantive and positive change - one that provides it with a permanent solution for its long-standing problems; and much-needed relief to those volunteers who have been keeping  the cemetery's landscape and gravesites in presentable condition - they all deserve our respect. 

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