Tall weeds back after city, county cleaned South Memphis cemeteries

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — What a difference a month makes.

It was just around Mother’s Day when the City of Memphis hired work crews to clean up the brush and weeds at Hollywood and Rose Hill Cemeteries.

By Father’s Day, the problems were back: tall weeds, overgrown brush, and headstones are barely visible.

Angela Louque couldn’t believe it when she came from California to visit her family’s grave site.

“When I saw it, I just thought, oh my god what happened, what happened. I mean I was so distraught. Once I got here it was just so disheartening to see that it was so unkept, just not clean, just not cared for,” says Louque. 

The Memphis City Council and Shelby County Commission each put in $15,000 to pay contractors to do the clean-up. But the money apparently just sat.

When WREG presented the city with the resolution showing the approved funding to city Public Works, the city quickly hired contractors to do the work.

But now, it seems no one is staying on top of routine maintenance.

The thousands spent for the first clean-up seems wasted because the same work will have be done all over again.

County Commissioner Eddie Jones pushed for the Commission’s $15,000 to clean up the cemeteries.

“No, that was barely enough to do one cut because the first cut was so major because the overgrowth had been there for years, and it took a lot just to get it back to where you can even see the headstone in the cemeteries,” says Jones. 

We reached out to the City of Memphis about a maintenance schedule for clean up, but never got a response. 

But Jones says he is bringing it up on the County Commission’s agenda because the courts have said ultimately it’s the county’s responsibility

“And so what’s happening right now is that we’re trying to provide the funding from over on the countryside, so that we can get those cemeteries cut, at least six times a year,” says Jones. 

Those with love ones buried at the cemeteries just hope there can be a permanent solution.

“Well I hope they put it in the plans for Memphis. I know Memphis can do better. I just believe that they can do better with regarding just honoring people who have passed on in this community” says Louque. 

At the July 21 County Commission meeting, Commissioner Jones plans to introduce his resolution to allocate at least $100,000 for cemetery maintenance.

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