(Hernando, MS) The peaceful quiet of city-owned Hernando Memorial Park makes it a perfect place to remember loved ones.
But some recent incidents here have several families concerned about whether the City of Hernando is able to run a cemetery business.
”Definitely is kind of a black eye for the city. It looks pretty bad as far as the up keep with that,” said Patrick Swindoll of Hernando.
Some of the problems include soil washing off gravesites, headstones misplaced, and even people buried in the wrong plots.
”We ended up with one recent thing that happened about six or seven weeks ago, and it was a very terrible clerical mistake,” said Mayor Chip Johnson.
He says some of the problems, such as the misplaced headstone, date back to 2002.
The more recent issues he blames on the area’s fast growth and increased demand for burial plots here.
”We basically ran out of plotted gravesites, so we plotted some new ones and they were all set in a row.”
He says that, and some miscommunication between the office and people on site resulted in at least one case of someone buried in a plot sold to someone else.
Mayor Johnson says a committee of three Aldermen has met, and will continue to meet to seek solutions to the problem, which could include hiring a manager, or even selling the property.
In the meantime, he’s put more immediate solutions into motion.
”Immediately, our city clerk put a paper trail process in place so this doesn’t happen again,” explained Johnson.
New gravesites, marked with flags were supposed to prevent problems, and Johnson pledges additional follow-up.
Patrick Swindoll says he’s glad city leaders are taking the problems seriously.
”I think it’s a very proactive approach to it, make sure they can fix all the problems, you know.”