Greenwood Cemetery cleanup to begin soon - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Greenwood Cemetery cleanup to begin soon

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LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- We last told you about Greenwood Cemetery in May when people showed up to visit grave sites on Memorial Day and couldn't find them because the weeds had grown so high.

Residents took action by cleaning it up and calling a meeting with local and state officials.

They met Thursday night to discuss solutions.

Residents say uncut grass hasn't been the only problem.

"It was like a junk site. People were dumping their old tires and trash over grave sites," said Neal Robertson, a west end resident.

Robertson and other residents of the west end have been meeting to make plans to clean the cemetery.

"Our loved ones are supposed to be resting in peace and as you know they're not," he said.

But they can only do so much.

That was the reason for called Thursday's meeting. They want to know why Greenwood was left unattended in the first place.

Turns out, the answer isn't that simple.

Dismas Charities has an agreement with the state to maintain Greenwood, Eastern and Schardein Cemeteries.

The state reimburses them.

But in February, Dismas Charities lost the supervisor of their grounds crew, leaving them with no manpower.

By the time they replaced him, it was too late.

"I can understand their emotions and being upset. You show up and everything's out of control so what needs to be told to them is it's going to be back in control. I don't think it'll ever be a cemetery you want it to be but it'll be like it was last year and the year before," said Robert Lanning with Dismas Charities.

"It's an ongoing challenge. Fortunately, Dismas has done a great job in the past. They sort of got caught by the rain this spring but the situation is improving," said Todd Leatherman with the Attorney General's office.

Documents show the problems surrounding all three cemeteries date back more than a decade.

They used to be owned by the Louisville Crematory and Cemetery Company, which had been bankrupt and defunct since the early 1990s after it was discovered they were engaging in multiple burials and grave desecrations.

Dismas has maintained all three cemeteries since but say their eight man crew can hardly keep up with all 50 acres.

"It's very difficult because there aren't a lot of resources for abandoned cemeteries," said Leatherman.

"I think it'll be an ongoing issue until we can get someone to step up and take ownership," Robertson told WDRB.

A clean up is scheduled at Greenwood Cemetery on June 29 starting at 8 a.m. Anyone is welcome to attend.

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