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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Some South Memphis cemeteries cleaned up by the city and county last year are overgrown again.

Debora Chalmers recently joined New Jerusalem M.B. Church on Elliston Road and said she was shocked when she saw the condition of Mt. Carmel cemetery across the street.

“It was mind-blowing,” Chalmers said. “Rats are running everywhere. The grass was taller than you and me. It’s an eyesore and dangerous.”

The grass in some areas is at least eight feet high, some headstones are buried in the weeds, and there are downed trees and branches all over the property.

Neighbors said they can’t remember the last time the grass was cut.

“I just hate to see it like that,” said Eric Pierce. “I’ve been here 40 years, and I think in the past four or five years is the worst. I have ever seen it.”

Rose Hill Cemetery, about a block away from Mt. Carmel, is in the same condition.

Rose Hill Cemetery

“It’s awful. I mean, you would think they could do a little better,” Pierce said.

Last year after a WREG investigation, Memphis City Council Council and the Shelby County Commission acknowledged they had set aside $30,000 to clean up five cemeteries in Memphis, including Mt. Carmel and Rose Hill.

Before Mother’s Day 2021, crews showed up with heavy equipment and weed eaters to cut acres of overgrown grass.

WREG contacted the City of Memphis about the condition of Mt. Carmel Cemetery but was referred to the county.

We contacted the Shelby County Mayor’s office late in the day but have not heard back from anyone.

The Memphis Mayor’s office did tell us there are five Memphis cemeteries currently in Environmental Court.

People who live near Mt. Carmel just want someone to take action.

You could see all the headstones,” Pierce said. “You could see that it was actually a cemetery that was being taken care of. Now it looks like it is just an abandoned cemetery.”.

Last year, the City of Memphis said it planned on going to Environmental Court to find a long-term maintenance plan.