MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Dilapidated headstones, downed trees, and dumping have taken over Mount Carmel Cemetery at the corner of Elvis Presley and Elliston in South Memphis.
One family told us this is the worst it has ever looked.
Debbie Hoskins desperately wants to lay flowers at her mother’s grave. She said usually her brothers cut a path to the plot but said this past Mother’s Day with the wild weeds and debris it was just too dangerous.
“I can’t even pay respect to my mom’s grave because as you can see, I cannot even get to the grave,” Hoskins said. “No one should ever have to come and pay respect to their loved one in a cemetery that looks like this.”
Last year WREG was told by city and county officials a total of $30,000 would go to improving conditions at five cemeteries including Mount Carmel.
Given the current situation, we asked Shelby County Commissioner Eddie Jones what happened.
“Here’s how a lapse happen in government. Government changes over so you get a new commissioner, new mayor, new judges,” Jones said.
Jones said the main issue is the property is defunct.
“There are no owners. Because there are no owners, the city and the county was taking turns doing the maintenance on it,” Jones said.
Years ago, he said a judge ruled the county is to be responsible for maintaining the dignity of the dead.
Recently, Jones said he toured the gravesite with a concerned constituent. He said the grass was cut not too long ago but admits more needs to be done.
“Maybe we need to put some security cameras up because there is a lot of illegal dumping going on inside the cemetery where it’s supposed to be sacred,” Jones said.
Jones said he plans to introduce a joint resolution with the city for more funding on Wednesday. His goal is to get several of the cemeteries maintained and cut a few times during the growing season.