The Danville City Commission voted unanimously on Monday to pay an attorney to sort out exactly who owns Hilldale Cemetery and a nearby tract that has become embroiled in controversy.
"We need to identify to owner of record," City Manager Darrell Blenniss advised commissioners.
It is generally believed that the city owns the cemetery and 3.5 acres across the street because the black community donated the land to the city in the 1960s. Official records of the property transfer, however, have been difficult to track down.
Ownership of the property became an issue last month when commissioners met in executive session with Norman Bartleson and others interested in buying the 3.5-acre parcel to develop housing there. When word of the potential deal got out to the public, an outcry arose from Duncan Hill residents who believe that property was set aside for future expansion of the cemetery.
Resident Kerry Kenley, who has spearheaded efforts to bring the matter to be discussed publicly, asked commissioners Monday what the status of the deal was.