RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The Hillside Cemetery has not had any vandalism since gravesites were destroyed in November. But now they are facing a different issue- students parking on gravesites.
Behind the Hillside Cemetery is a dirt lot called Potter's field. It may seem like an ordinary dirt lot where people park for free, but if you take a closer look, you will see signs around the fence informing people that they are parking on remains.
"Potter's Field is a section that is half inside the fence, half out," said Chaylene Webb, the Secretary of the Hillside Cemetery Preservation Foundation. "There is approximately 140 bodies outside the fence that university students park on everyday."
The Hillside Cemetery Preservation Foundation President, Frances Tryon, found records of bodies buried in Potter's Field and was able to confirm it with Sierra Memorial Gardens, the owners of the property.
Tryon said Sierra Memorial Gardens has taken some action to prevent students from parking in the lot, but not enough.
"They have, but they have not been as proactive as we want them to be," said Tryon "It is their property, they can claim it."
KOLO 8 News Now reached out to Sierra Memorial Gardens and this is what they said in a statement:
"Sierra Memorial Gardens has been taking measures to stop students from trespassing on the cemetery, and encourages the city, county and University to help prevent unlawful behavior in and around the area."
Sierra Memorial Gardens said that Potter’s Field is private property and that students who park in the lot are trespassing.
The University of Nevada says it has no control over where students park outside of school.
People have been parking in Potter's Field for years, so why is the Hillside Cemetery Preservation taking action now?
"Can't do anything about what happened in the past," said Tryon, "We can only change things that are happening right now. From this moment forward, how are we going to make things right?"
The Hillside Cemetery Preservation Foundation wants to fix the problem by purchasing the cemetery and Potter's Field from Sierra Memorial Gardens so that they can restore the cemetery and extend the fence to where the bodies lie. But they lack the funds to do so. If you want to help or donate you can click here: here