Concern about Bellevue Cemetery voiced

September 01, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

Residents who wanted to talk about Bellevue Cemetery flagged down Danville City Commissioners after a special meeting Monday. They are concerned that the city might let private contractors run the cemeteries, and said that Bellevue is not being maintained.

Commissioners held an informal meeting with them because, by law, it couldn't be discussed during the special meeting. Only items on the agenda of a special meeting can be discussed during that meeting.

Tillie Sowders said she didn't understand why the cemetery office was moved to Second Street. The city has leased a garage there for $1,000 month to house public works and the cemetery office.

Sowders, whose parents are buried in the cemetery, said that someone from out of town would have a hard time finding the office, and that she thinks that there ought to be staff at the cemetery. She walks in Bellevue every morning with a friend.


Commissioner Terry Crowley said the city is getting estimates on both demolishing and renovating the cemetery building at Bellevue.

Resident Lucy Kirkpatrick, who lives next door to the cemetery, said she does not think the cemetery building is in disrepair. "It's the newest building on the street," she said.

Crowley also said that the city is considering hiring contractors to take care of the cemetery. The cemetery is not profitable for the city, he said, and so it is a matter of striking a balance between upkeep and the budget.

"It's a tough, tough call," he said. "We can't have people up there 24-7."

Residents said that trash bags had overflowed the Dumpster there and that they believed the recent removal of the hemlocks was a mistake.

Funeral Director Mary Stith said that the staff at the cemetery was good, but that they had more work than time to finish it.

"It does not look as good as it should, there's no question about that," said Commissioner Jamey Gay.

Resident Dee Dee Ransdell said, "It's a priority in my life because there are pieces of my heart buried there."

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