MAUMEE, OH (Toledo News Now) - Maumee city officials say the damage to Riverside Cemetery will cost about $1 million to repair.
Maumee Mayor Rich Carr says the city is applying for funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to offset the cost of repairs.
“The city has some money if we have to use it, but we would rather apply for emergency funding, because this is clearly an emergency,” he said.
City workers are scrambling to get all the headstones back in place at the cemetery. About 50 have been reset, but the weight of others is a stumbling block.
“The plan right now is to get a piece of equipment in here that has a tracks [sic] on it that we can spread the weight of the equipment load out on it to where we don't create damage,” said Joe Camp, director of Maumee's Department of Public Service. “Hopefully we'll have a piece of equipment in here by the first part of next week for the heavier stones.”
U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH 5th District) toured the cemetery on Friday to see the damage for himself.
"In all my days, I have never seen anything like this," he said. "Everything has been pretty much toppled. The headstones have been broken. You know, a lot of the old military stones, and Civil War vets are buried here."
Most of the damage is still unknown as many headstones remain under four feet of ice.
"We'll just have to play it by ear until Mother Nature melts the ice away and, you know, things become more visible," Camp said.
It could take weeks for the ice to melt, and Mayor Carr says it could take up to a year before all the repairs are complete.
"We want to treat this with dignity and respect, and so we have to be patient," he said. "We want to try to collect as many personal items as we can, get them to the people they belong to, and we'll get this back."
Latta's office has been in contact with other government officials. He says he plans to do all he can to help Maumee get what they need.
In the meantime, a local business, Maumee Valley Memorials, plans to volunteer their time to help reset the headstones that were displaced.
"We feel we owe this to the community," said Mike Faehnle from Maumee Valley Memorials. "A lot of people put their stake in our company when we did the original monuments."