Funds available for statewide cemetery maintenance projects

DOVER — Funding is available to support smaller cemeteries that lack the ability to maintain their grounds.

The Division of Public Health urges interested cemeteries to apply. Money was set aside in 2009 with the Distressed Cemetery Fund, which exists to support repair and improvement projects.

Cemeteries must be registered before they can apply for funding.

The fund is overseen by  the Delaware Cemetery Board and receives $2 from every death certificate sold and registration fees.

The maximum amount available from the fund to each cemetery is $10,000 every two years, but a financial assistance request must be matched with real dollars and/or documented volunteer hours.

Applications must be submitted two weeks before a scheduled board meeting, along with pictures of the area needing repairs, financial information, a small scale map and three written vendor quotes. By receiving funds, the applicant must agree to erect a sign (if none exist) with the cemetery name and contact telephone number in case of an emergency or vandalism.
A written closeout report is required six months after the receipt of the award, along with pictures of the work completed, canceled checks to the vendor and vendor invoices paid.

In the past, funds have been used to repair tombstones, conduct landscaping and purchase topsoil.

In the most recent fiscal year, seven cemeteries received awards totaling $62,437.50. They are:

Hartly United Methodist Church Cemetery

Little Creek Friends Burial Ground

Montgomery Family Cemetery

Mt. Zion Cemetery

Riverview Cemetery

Sailors Bethel United Methodist Church Cemetery

Wilmington & Brandywine Cemetery

The next Delaware Cemetery Board meeting will be held Wednesday at 10:30 in Dover at the Modern Maturity Center’s East Conference Room. Information can be found on the State’s Public Meeting Calendar at

State law requires cemetery owners to register cemeteries with the  Division of Public Health every five years. The registration form can be found on DPH’s website at The fee is $10 and fines may be charged for expired registrations.

To learn about registering a cemetery, or for more information on the Distressed Cemetery Fund, visit and (29 Del. C., c. 79A).

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