People want Ashburn cemetery cleaned up - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

People want Ashburn cemetery cleaned up

January 20, 2007

Ashburn - - It's sad and plain disrespectful. That's how a number of Ashburn residents feel about an abandoned cemetery covered with bushes and weeds. The cemetery has sat abandoned for years and people who live there want the city to take action. But there's a hurdle, the city doesn't own the property.

To make things worse, the city doesn't know who does, which makes cleaning it up even more difficult.

If you didn't know any better, you'd think this it was a nice, green plant field, not an overgrown cemetery.

"It's a bad sight really. Really it is," says Eddie Williams who lives down the street from the graveyard, affectionately referred to as 'Gabe's Tater Patch'.

Cora Scott has an uncle buried here. She can't go pay her respects.

"You can't find it. Too much grass and stuff down there, you can't find it."

The 'stuff' is bamboo, some over 20 feet tall and more than an inch in diameter.

In some parts of the cemetery bamboo have grown so high that people wanting to visit their loved ones would literally have to crawl through the mess.

Other parts, you can't even walk through. Newly elected mayor Jim Hedges wants to use inmate labor to clean it up, but there's a problem.

"The one catch is work crews are only allowed to work on city, county, state, and federal property," Hedges says.

City leaders don't know who owns the property. People who live near it want answers.

"One day, you know everybody's going to have to die and you got to think about, you don't want to be left like that. It's just really not showing no concern for the dead," Williams says.

They're hoping Mayor Hedges can clear the hurdle and fix a problem that gets worse by the year.

"You go in Ashburn and you don't see no other graveyards like that," says Jack Douglas.

A church sits next to the graveyard, so people thought it owned the property. That's not the case. Mayor Hedges say regardless of who owns it, he feels the city should step in to fix up the eyesore.

Hedges contacted the state Department of Corrections to get special approval for state prisoners to help clear the overgrown graveyard.

He says clearing the property is on his priority list.

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