Families not satisfied with cemetery repairs - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Families not satisfied with cemetery repairs

December 9, 2003

Albany - Nearly 10 years after the worst flood in Georgia history, Albany's Riverside Cemetery still isn't repaired. Work is being done now, but some families aren't happy with it.

The sound of construction replaces the normal silence of the Riverside/Oakview cemetery. "We're in the midst of a rehabilitation project to repair items that we displaced or destroyed in the flood on 1994," said City Engineer Wes Smith.

For the last 7 weeks, historical restoration experts have helped work crews repair broken or displaced ledgers, many of which are a century old.

A few headstones and an obelisk all are that's left from the once elaborate Farkas family plot. The rest was destroyed by a sinkhole after the flood. "FEMA told us that they would put back the headstones and put the cemetery back, as a whole, as it was before the flood. That was their promise," said Sandy Farkas.

But, Sandy Farkas says FEMA hasn't fulfilled that promise. City Engineer Wes Smith agrees. "We had anticipated replacing all the granite, marble, and concrete ledgers, but FEMA ultimately required us to come back with a standard marker instead. We had also anticipated replacing all decorate walls around a number of the sites, but FEMA wouldn't allow for there replacement," said Smith.

The Farkas family took its complaints to Congressman Sanford Bishop. They are demanding answers to why FEMA isn't replacing all the monuments and gravestones as promised.

"We would go out there for High Holy days and people's birthdays to put flowers and stones in honor of the Jewish religion," said Farkas.

For ten years, the Farkas family has had no place to go to remember their ancestors. Soon the salvaged headstones will stand again on the sacred burial site, but the family finds no peace with the way the federal government treated their family.

The city must be finished with the work by December 31st. FEMA will not pay for any work done after the end of the year.

Posted at 5:30PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com