Nashville community discusses controversial cemetery rules

Nashville Cemetery plans to enforce new rules despite protests

NASHVILLE, Ga. (WALB) - The Nashville City Council is moving forward in their plans to clean up their city managed cemeteries.

At their council meeting, they let people give their opinion on the newly implemented cemetery that require the removal of all extensive decorations, and despite protests, officials said the rules on what items and how many are allowed will be enforced.

Margaret Perry has family buried in Nashville Cemetery
Margaret Perry has family buried in Nashville Cemetery (Source: WALB)

“It really had gotten to the point where it looked like a circus out there," said Margaret Perry.

Perry has family buried in one of the Nashville Cemeteries, and said that she was one of the people lobbying for the new rules, to ensure her perspective was heard.

“There was stuff everywhere. They couldn’t mow. There was junk,” said Perry.

Libby Dean also spoke out weeks ago, against the new rules.

Nashville City Council is moving forward in their plans to enforce their newly implemented cemetery rules.
Nashville City Council is moving forward in their plans to enforce their newly implemented cemetery rules. (Source: WALB)

“We just have things on the lot that are representative of who he is. It’s heartbreaking to me and I know I’ve spoken to other people whose heart is broken as well," said Dean.

Dean focused her comments on fairness, and asked about the items that seem to be non-regulation.

City Councilmember Melissa Watson apologized for any hurt people felt
City Councilmember Melissa Watson apologized for any hurt people felt (Source: WALB)

“And we did hear her. I didn’t want her to think that as a council that we’re not addressing— not listening to everyone," said Nashville City Council member, Melissa Watson.

Empathizing with Dean, Watson apologized for any hurt the new rules caused.

Libby Dean has family buried in Nashville Cemetery
Libby Dean has family buried in Nashville Cemetery (Source: WALB)

“But it’s something that has to be addressed and has to be cleaned up. There’s a lot of people who are glad that we’re going and getting this cleaned up,” said Watson.

Nashville Mayor Michael Richbourg also spoke about how this wasn’t an easy choice.

“Understand that we didn’t make the decision over night," he said.

Nashville Mayor Michael Richbourg spoke about how this wasn’t an easy choice.
Nashville Mayor Michael Richbourg spoke about how this wasn’t an easy choice. (Source: WALB)

But nonetheless, Richbourg said they’re moving forward with the new rules, while trying to give people some time to retrieve their own items.

“If they cannot or do not, we probably will, within in the next six months, have all of those removed. So that’s even a slow process," said Richbourg.

During that meeting, the mayor laid out a timeline that indicated that discussions about these rules began in 2015.

He also maintains that proper legal protocol was followed.

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