MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance announced Wednesday that an embattled Bartlett cemetery will soon be open once more to the public.
Starting May 25, Galilee Memorial Gardens on Ellis Road will be open to weekends and holidays as part of a court-approved plan.
Neighbors say families struggled with not being able to visit their loved ones.
"They had to break the gate down to get in. I feel sorry for them. Matter of fact, I saw one lady climbing the fence. I said, 'Do you need help to get over it," Charlie Ayers said.
In fact, the state closed the cemetery more than four years ago after egregious accusations against the former owner led to a lawsuit an criminal charges. State officials say it was too dangerous, and they’ve had to study the disruption to the grounds to make it safe for people to come in again.
“After years of work to address the numerous financial and legal issues created by the cemetery’s former owner, we are pleased the Davidson County Chancery Court approved a plan allowing the public to have regular visitation so family members might pay their respects to loved ones,” said TDCI Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak. “We hope to continue working with the court in the hopes that the public might continue to have ongoing access to the property.”
The cemetery will be open on the following holidays;
- Memorial Day (Monday, May 27, 2019)
- Fourth of July (Thursday, July 4, 2019)
- Labor Day (Monday, September 2, 2019)
- Veterans Day (Monday, November 11, 2019)
- Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 28, 2019)
- Christmas Day (Wednesday, December 25, 2019)
- Martin Luther King Day (Monday, January 20, 2020)
- Presidents Day (Monday, February 17, 2020)
The operating hours will be from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on those days.