Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — Eduardo Hernandez, laborer with Worrell Contracting out of La Grange, N.C., levels off a pile of dirt before sod would be laid between a row of headstones at the Natchez National Cemetery on Friday afternoon.
Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — Eduardo Hernandez, laborer with Worrell Contracting out of La Grange, N.C., levels off a pile of dirt before sod would be laid between a row of headstones at the Natchez National Cemetery on Friday afternoon.

Cemetery work nears completion

Published 12:10am Tuesday, April 30, 2013

NATCHEZ — Two years of meticulous labor on two separate projects will soon conclude with visible results at the Natchez National Cemetery.

Since the cemetery expanded across Cemetery Road in 2001 on what’s called the western extension, a few issues have arisen that cemetery leadership thought could, and should, be corrected.

Earlier this week a final inspection was carried out on the new drainage system installed under the western extension. This inspection yielded a list of final details that must be addressed before the drainage project will be complete.

Anyone who passed by or through the cemetery in recent month was likely more aware of another project under way at the expansion.

Sheila Smith, program support assistant at the Natchez National Cemetery, said that crews are nearing completion of all of the sod at the expansion.

“We actually had two different types of sod over there,” Smith said. “We had Bermuda and St. Augustine (grass). Now everything is St. Augustine.”

Smith said St. Augustine grass is the variety that covers the entirety of the National Cemetery.

“Everything is consistent,” Smith said.

Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — Phillip Smyre, project team leader with Worrell Contracting, carries two sections of sod past a row of headstones.
Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — Phillip Smyre, project team leader with Worrell Contracting, carries two sections of sod past a row of headstones.

Phillip Smyre, with Worrell Contracting in North Carolina that is doing the work, said that while the work is detail-driven, but worthwhile.

“It’s rewarding to know that we can come in and maintain an area like this that has our nation’s veterans buried in it,” Smyre said.

Smyre and his co-workers have been on site for three weeks removing the old grass from the southern section of the western extension, leveling the ground and laying down the new sod.

Without major interrupts due to weather, Smyre said the project should be finished within just a few days.

Smith said that is a relief to be so close to the completion of the two projects which could impact the experiences of cemetery visitors.

“Anytime there is work done in the National Cemetery, it is an inconvenience to our customers,” Smith said.

Smith said the work and beautification of the cemetery is for the benefit of those who come here to remember the ones they love.

“We’re glad that is completed so that when our customers come out to visit their loved ones’ graves, they can do that in a sense of knowing that the grounds are well-maintained,” Smith said.

“We just want to get back to normal so that our customers will be satisfied with the job we are doing,” Smith added.

  • Anonymous

    This is wonderful news!