Concerns raised over cemetery cleanliness in Tifton

Weeds, broken nameplates and grass covering headstones are some of the things Tifton residents...
Weeds, broken nameplates and grass covering headstones are some of the things Tifton residents are wanting to get cleaned up at Oak Ridge Cemetery.(walb)
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 5:45 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2022 at 10:32 PM EDT
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TIFTON, Ga. (WALB) - Several people in Tifton and one city leader are not happy with the upkeep and cleanliness of two cemeteries in Tifton.

One of those cemeteries is Oak Ridge Cemetery.

Renee Cannady said she’s lived in Tifton for more than 20 years.

“Absolutely disgusting to see peoples’ nameplates mowed over and broken glass all over resting places,” she wrote on Facebook. “People are already grieving so when they get here. They shouldn’t have to deal with that extra grief of having to figure out how they are having to clean it up if they didn’t come prepared to.”

The post prompted several people to reach out to WALB News 10′s Alicia Lewis with similar concerns.

Cannady said in her free time, she cleans off nameplates not taken care of.

The city owns Oak Ridge Cemetery.

City Council Member Lester Cromer said cemeteries should be presentable when you visit your loved ones.

“With the exception that there are weather factors, and there are situations where we are only staffed with three individuals to cut the entire cemetery, which is about 88 acres, and they tend to take two weeks to cut each quadrant,” Cromer added.

Going forward, city leaders said they will continue to take full responsibility for the cleanliness at Oak Ridge Cemetery.

Greenwood Cemetery has also drawn the attention of city leaders and residents who want a change...
Greenwood Cemetery has also drawn the attention of city leaders and residents who want a change when it comes to cleanliness and upkeep there.(walb)

Greenwood Cemetery has also drawn the attention of city leaders and residents who want a change when it comes to cleanliness and upkeep there.

Budget issues are usually the leading cause related to the upkeep of cemeteries.

Cromer said there are more issues than that at the cemetery.

During Cromer’s campaign, one of the main things he wanted to tackle was the cleanliness and upkeep of Greenwood Cemetery, which is on the south side of Tifton.

His passion for the gravesite stemmed from his elderly dad, who was cleaning up his parents headstone because the condition of the site was so bad.

In his search for answers, Cromer found that neither the city nor county owns the cemetery. So, this means for years and years, the upkeep of the site has been scarce.

“It’s owned by the Colored Cemetery Association. Who is that? So, it’s basically deeded to the colored people, this was in the early 1900s. Its very important that the upkeep of cemeteries is constant because unfortunately, death happens every day. There’s funerals every day and unclean grassy areas generate snakes,” he said.

Recently, Cromer noticed families coming there to cut the grass and clean headstones before funerals to avoid hazardous issues. Cromer said his goal is to get Greenwood Cemetery annexed to the city because he said the City Of Tifton has the infrastructure to maintain the site properly. In addition, he wants to get a committee of like-minded individuals to help with the cleanup process of the gravesite.