AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A local cemetery is catching the eye of many residents, because they say it’s not being properly cared for. The West View Cemetery is more than 100 years old, and is the final resting place for hundreds of Augustans.
Many of the graves at West View Cemetery are supposed to be under perpetual care, but with no funds from the city and no family members to attend to them, they are left to decay.
Those with relatives buried there say it’s a grim sight. Ben Newman, a resident with five relatives buried at at West View Cemetery said, “I buried my dad nine years ago and buried my mother a year ago and it’s always, the grass is always two to three feet tall, the place is in disarray. There’s no respect for the deceased at all.”
Newman and his family have told the city the cemetery is not taken care of properly, with broken headstones and borders, and overgrown plots.
The Deputy Director of Augusta Recreation and Parks, Gary Hegner explained, “West View is one of those cemeteries that has a tremendous amount of sand lots and copings and edgings. So it’s not like it’s an area where you can easily mow. It requires a lot of spring trimming and just a lot of general maintenance like spraying of weeds.”
West View was built in 1900 to provide a burial place for the old mill workers and their families. Now many of those former workers have graves that are supposed to be taken care of regularly but are still falling into disrepair.
“There’s always ways you can be more efficient in what you do and we’ll continue to raise that standard however possible, but at some point you reach that plateau of if you want to make it better, either more funding or more people have to be made available,” said Hegner.
The city has no funding for maintaining these old plots, and turn to inmate crews that periodically work the property. Hegner claimed, “Whether it’s more funding or more staffing, but just the fact that we’ve got to do a good job. Our taxpayers expect good care and we should be giving that to them.” Newman said, “The last respect that you can have is for the dead and if you don’t respect them, you can’t respect nobody because they have come and gone before us.”