CINCINNATI - What's wrong with the firefighter memorial?
The decorative brick pavers are scorned with dying weeds. Names of the memorialized are obscured by mats of yellow – and just one block from Cincinnati's main firehouse on Central Avenue downtown.
It doesn't look like the tribute you'd expect to those who died in the line of duty. But fire department employee Connie Lewis says it's not what it looks like.
"There's no neglect to the memorial," Lewis said.
She should know.
Lewis and dozens of other volunteers have been fixing up the park in preparation for next month's memorial ceremony.
"We're cleaning it up, getting all the weeds out. We're pretty much stripping it down," she said.
She says the weeds were sprayed with herbicide last week. Volunteers are waiting for them to die before they're removed.That way, they are less likely to grow back.
And organizers have done away with using wreaths at the memorial, opting instead for live mums.
"We found using the mums, they last a lot longer than the wreaths do. It's a lot greener," Lewis said.
Afterward, those flowers will take root, to be enjoyed into the future.
The firefighters memorial park is maintained by volunteers. Officials say no city dollars go into mowing the grass or pulling weeds.
The park goes through two major cleanups a year -- one in the spring, one in the fall.
Some of the plants that were removed last week will see service again once the grounds have been spruced up.
"The fire department is very proud of the memorial," Lewis assured.