§ 45-5-12. Neglected burial grounds.
(a) Town councils may also take possession of and hold ancient, neglected, or abandoned burial grounds including historic cemeteries as defined in § 23-18-1(5), whenever they can take possession without opposition from the persons interested in those grounds. The councils may take, hold, and manage in trust all funds given to the councils to keep these grounds in repair or for ornamenting or improving these grounds, and may in their discretion appropriate from the treasury of their towns money for the purpose of keeping in repair, preserving the monuments in, and maintaining any neglected burial ground.
(b) Any person interested in caring for burial ground described in subsection (a) which has not been maintained and the owner of which is unknown or whose present address is unknown, may petition the town council for permission to clean up and maintain that burial ground at the person's own expense. Upon approval of this petition on any conditions the council may deem appropriate, the council shall cause an advertisement to be placed in a local newspaper providing notice that the burial ground is to be entered and cleaned up and thereafter maintained, and notifying persons with a property interest in this burial ground who have objections to come forward by a date certain.
(G.L. 1896, ch. 40, § 36; G.L. 1909, ch. 50, § 38; G.L. 1923, ch. 51, § 41; G.L. 1938, ch. 333, § 41; G.L. 1956, § 45-5-12; P.L. 1995, ch. 338, § 1.)