Supervisors discuss cemetery

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 2, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Maintaining a place of rest for citizens long gone was a heartfelt issue at a Monday morning board of supervisors meeting.

Watkins Street Cemetery, spread out over 15 acres on Watkins Street, is now covered with an overgrowth of vegetation, Carolyn Smith told the Adams County Board of Supervisors.

Smith has family in the cemetery and voiced concerns of neglect.

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&8220;We just want help in maintaining and preserving Watkins Cemetery,&8221; Smith said.

The cemetery is located on a tract of land that dates back to the early 1900s and has unmarked graves as well as soldiers from past wars buried on its grounds.

Barney Schoby also has family members in the cemetery and voiced some concern.

&8220;This town has found ways of preserving other historic areas,&8221; Schoby told the board members. &8220;We have begged, borrowed and had fundraisers to raise money, and we need the board&8217;s help.&8221;

Because the cemetery is 100 years old, it is considered a historic site by the state Department of Archives and History. As a public historic site, the cemetery can be maintained by the sheriff&8217;s office, supervisors said.

Sheriff Ronny Brown called the cemetery sight a &8220;disaster.&8221;

&8220;The place is unreal,&8221; Brown said. &8220;We can&8217;t go in there with just a tractor and a weed eater and clean that place up. It needs a bulldozer.&8221;

Brown said the sheriff&8217;s office didn&8217;t have the equipment needed to even get the project started.

&8220;If someone can get it to the point where we can go in there and mow and weed eat, then we will,&8221; Brown said. &8220;We like to use the inmates for work like that, and it&8217;s also an opportunity for them to payback to the community.&8221;

Board President Darryl Grennell said the board unanimously supported whatever actions had to be taken to get the cemetery back to where it needs to be.

In other business the board discussed a leash law in the county.

&8220;We need this so residents will be able to walk the streets again with out having to worry about getting attacked,&8221; county resident Carolyn Saucier said. &8220;I have two granddaughters that have been attacked by dogs and I think we need this.&8221;

Grennell said the local attorney Patricia Dunmore is currently working on an ordinance. After the ordinance is complete a public hearing will be held to vote on the ordinance.

The board also reappointed Dale Steckler to the Natchez-Adams school board.