Graves filled with standing water, man asks for help with repair - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Graves filled with standing water, man asks for help with repairs

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) -

One east Alabama man is asking for help after discovering several cemeteries around his community with graves in disrepair.

Cecil Peterson, Sr. says these are about 16 graves in Phenix City that are cracked open and exposed.  He says some of them are filled with standing water and even have tadpoles swimming around in them.

"That grave deserves respect and dignity, and that person does regardless. So, that is where we stand, and we just want some advice and we want to see something done to it," said Peterson.

As the chairman of the Phenix City Cemetery Committee, Peterson showed News Leader 9 some of the problems at Edmonds, Girard and Pine Grove cemeteries.

Concerned about the communities surrounding the cemeteries, he is seeking the advice of the Phenix City Council if legally he and others can fix the graves. He says while some may be privately owned, the city is in charge of the up-keep like cutting grass. Peterson presented the problem during a work session last month.  

Phenix City Council Member Arthur Sumbry, Sr. says Mayor Sonny Coulter asked if he and City Manager Wallace Hunter would discuss the issue. "Once you get a headstone in there, you can't touch it.  You can't move anything unless you have a permit.  You have to get a permit for something like that especially digging," said Sumbry.

The Council Member says repairing almost anything can be legally dangerous for the city."Once you put a person in the cemetery, that becomes their [the cemetery] responsibility especially if a cemetery doesn't belong to the city.  That's a privately owned cemetery," said Sumbry.

Hunter did say they are putting together a new fund for the upkeep of the properties, and the local government may look at overhauling the way the cemeteries are managed. Peterson just wants the best for those he says deserve respect.

"Right now, they are in disrespect.  And, I don't care what kind of person they were, we are disrespecting them," said Peterson.

Hunter also says they will be increasing police presence to help deter anyone from harming the graves. He says the problem is not being ignored, and they are working to fix everything as quickly as they can.

Copyright 2012 WTVM. All rights reserved.

Today's Top Stories on News Leader 9

SLIDESHOW: Graves Exposed in Phenix City (SIDEBAR)

Updated:

Several graves in Phenix City's cemeteries are cracked open and exposed. Some of the graves even have tadpoles swimming in them. More>>

Powered by Frankly