Condition of Heartland cemetery sparks outrage among citizens

Grass and weeds were growing tall around headstones and the names of those buried at Woodlawn Cemetery were nearly covered. (KTVO/John Garlock)

Disgraceful and insulting - those are the words some would use to describe the condition of Woodlawn Cemetery in Macon at various times throughout the year.

On Wednesday, KTVO cameras were there.

Grass and weeds were growing tall around headstones and the names of those buried there were nearly covered.

The condition sparked outrage among family with loved ones buried at Woodlawn Cemetery.

This cemetery is the final resting place of Dana Thrasher's parents, grandparents and a number of other relatives.

She told KTVO over the phone that before her mother passed away, she had maintained the grave of her dad.

"When my father passed away, it's been almost 20 years... my mom would go up and mow because they didn't keep it nice like she wanted it. When it got to the point where she couldn't do it, she would call the city and complain."

According to the City of Macon's website, the maintenance of the cemetery falls under the Public Grounds Department.

A city employee, who wished to remain anonymous, told KTVO the problem is understaffing.

He says there are simply not enough city employees to care for the cemetery and all of Macon's city parks.

Thrasher said the concern over the upkeep of the cemetery is not a recent issue.

"This May, they took weed killer and sprayed around the headstones so there were great big brown circles of dead grass around all the headstones. It was ridiculous looking."

Although Thrasher is angry over the condition of the cemetery, she hopes the city will consider alternative options to help with the upkeep.

She suggested having the city look into a grant or bidding out the work to a third-party company.

"I don't know how they budget their money. I don't know what workers they've got full-time or anything like that. I know everybody struggles in a lot of smaller towns, but that should be a priority. That speaks volumes about the City of Macon."

Our anonymous source within the City of Macon says to make matters worse, one city employee who helps with cemetery and parks upkeep has been off work after getting injured earlier this year.

After seeing the condition of Woodlawn Cemetery this week, a number of concerned citizens called Macon City Hall to share their anger.

Some of those citizens even went out to weed-eat and mow the grass themselves.

KTVO called Macon City Hall on Friday.

A representative in the Administrative Office said that many of the issues that concerned and worried citizens have now been taken care of and addressed.

Following a recent Facebook post about the unsightly conditions at Woodlawn Cemetery, those in charge of cemetery upkeep enlisted the help of Macon street crews on Wednesday to help trim around all of the headstones.

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