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Grantville Cemetery Trust to bring its concerns to the city

  • By Jeffrey Cullen-Dean
  • |
  • Oct. 20, 2021 - 11:27 AM

Grantville Cemetery Trust to bring its concerns to the city

Jeffrey Cullen-Dean / The Newnan Times-Herald

The members of the Grantville Cemetery Trust discuss the condition of the city's cemetery and how they want to address the issues. From left, Barham Lundy, Selma Coty and Sandra Luttrell.

After a field trip to the cemetery, the Grantville Cemetery Trust and the Grantville Historic Preservation Commission held a joint meeting on Oct. 15 to discuss the cemetery's condition.

The dilapidated graves in the cemetery are missing headstones or are being weathered away. Other graves are overgrown with plants, or have been overtaken by tree growth on the edges of the property.

"It's worse than what I had imagined," said Sandra Luttrell, a member of the Grantville Cemetery Trust, at the meeting. "I can't believe it's gone to the extremes that it has and gone downhill for so many years."

According to Grantville's code of ordinances, it is "the duty of every person owning a burial lot in the public cemetery to keep the lot well maintained, and if trees, shrubs or bushes are allowed on the lot, to keep them shapely and neat."

But Barham Lundy, a member of the GCT, said he wonders who is supposed to maintain the graves of people who no longer have family in the area.

"The city said it is incumbent on the person who owns the plot to maintain it, well that might be, but what if there is nobody? What individual can pick up a headstone and upright it? You got to have the equipment to do that with," he said.

The cemetery trust fund has approximately $5,000, and is unable to properly maintain the cemetery with the money.

Latrell, Lundy and Selma Coty, a member of the GTC and chairperson of the GHPC, unanimously voted to write a letter to the city as a request to manage the cemetery's boundary so plans no longer cover the plots on the cemetery's edge.

Lundy said the city should also clear the vegetation from the plots that are not along the cemetery property border.

However, Coty said she feels the two groups should find a way to contact the owners of the plots instead.

"That is private property,” Coty said. “Whoever owns that lot has got a deed to it, so the question is: Are there survivors or not? If there are no survivors, the city should take care of it. If there are survivors, they should take care of it.

"We need a map of the cemetery and identify each lot and then determine who the owner is and then contact that owner if we can,” she said. “That's going to be a tedious, time consuming job, and I don't see any other way of doing it."

The three GCT members also briefly discussed bringing their concerns to the city's administrative committee, which is made up of Grantville City Councilmembers Ruby Hines, Mark King and Jim Sells.

"If they're not willing to use some resources to help in the restoration of that cemetery, I don't know what's going to happen," Lundy said.

Coty added that she planned to contact the city manager on giving the GCT control of the funds within the cemetery trust.