PALMDALE – City crews began cutting weeds, trimming juniper bushes and picking up fast-food wrappers and other trash in the Palmdale Cemetery, the first steps toward preserving, and restoring dignity to, the 120-year-old facility. The cemetery, a legacy of the community’s first settlers, is cluttered with trash and debris and has been frequently vandalized. Grave markers are missing or knocked over, and a vehicle smashed into its front block wall. “We’ll clean it up the best we can. Then we’ll have to take a look at the low walls to see what needs to be done to make it look like they should and make it safe,” said Leon Swain, Palmdale’s director of public works. The initial cleanup will take about 30 days. The site will be secured with a wrought-iron fence, but putting that up will take some time to complete. The fence must be designed and bids sought from construction companies, Swain said. [email protected] (661) 267-5743160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhy these photogenic dumplings are popping up in Los AngelesIn August, the City Council adopted a resolution toward taking over the cemetery. The resolution made three findings: The site is not an endowment care cemetery; the site has not had more than 10 human interments within the past five years; the site presents a threat or danger to the health, safety, comfort or welfare of the public. The last burial of record was Jan.17, 2001, city officials said. The cemetery was created by the settlers of Palmenthal, founded in the 1880s by German and Swiss immigrants from Nebraska and Illinois. Grave markers there bear the names of pioneers including generations of Ritters, whose former ranch west of Palmdale is being turned into a 7,200-home master-plan community, and Melville J. Courson, Palmdale’s first honorary mayor for whom a downtown park is named. The top of Courson’s grave marker has been broken off. The city has acquired 14 acres adjacent to the cemetery with the idea of establishing a historical park there.