Neglected cemetery an active burial site


Evergreen Cemetery in Savannah has been the focus of complaints by the loved ones of some of those buried there.  Their plight has made headlines as well as court action to cease burial sales due to the lack of perpetual care at the privately-owned 28 acre cemetery.  It remains active, although large areas of Evergreen lives up to the name as it’s covered in thick vegetation that buries thousands of graves in green, making accessibility an added burden in a time of sorrow for family plot owners, like Master Sergeant Cynthia Cooper of Savannah.  Cooper says the neglect of maintenance in Evergreen was an obstacle to burying her mother, Mrs. Georgia James, when she passed away in late May, “We came out here to look at the grave site when I was doing her final arrangements and the overgrowth was just horrible.  So in order to prepare a grave for my mom  we had to cut a whole path to come up here to find our family plots,” Cooper said.

The 27-year, active-duty Air National Guard airman says it cost a thousand dollars to cut this  access path and clear her family’s plot, to bury here mom in what could be the most neglected cemetery in Savannah, ” It was… very hard.  Um, when we first came out here before we could get someone out here to clear the land for us. we just didn’t know what to do.  We didn’t know how in the world we were gonna get this cleared.  ,”  Cooper said adding she hopes Mayor Eddie DeLoach’s push for city involvement in a solution comes to pass, “I was happy and that’s why I’m here today because I had to do  this for my family and there are other families out here that maybe they haven’t been out here, or they can’t afford to clear the lot to bury their family, so I was happy,” said Cooper.

Mayor Eddie DeLoach says he hopes the city can find a way to help, “Because it’s just not fair to the people that have their loved ones buried there to have to go in there into that mess all the time and have people come in and volunteer to have to clean it up,”  said DeLoach.  Evergreen is privately owned, but that owner is incapacitated by health issues.  Savannah city attorneys are taking a closer look at how the city can legally intervene.  Cooper and many others anxiously await their findings.  Evergreen opened in 1939 to serve Savannah’s African-American community during 20th Century segregation through present times.

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