Tensions high at community meeting over Brookwood Cemetery

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ARAB, Ala. (WHNT) -- Tensions were high Thursday night at a community meeting in Arab as residents expressed concern over issues at Brookwood Cemetery.

It was a packed room at Arab City Hall Thursday night as concerned residents came to get answers to issues they've been seeing at Brookwood Cemetery,  which is just outside the city limits. The manager of the cemetery says he came to the meeting prepared to give a discussion on the cemetery's past, and its current status. He also said he would answer any questions the community might have.

Among the crowd was Kathy Watwood. "Well, my son, my sister, and my grandparents are all buried at Brookwood," Watwood explains. "I have a lot of friends and family members buried there."

She, along with dozens of others, have concerns and the room was full of examples. "Our son is four inches, his vault is four inches below ground," Watwood says.

Also, maintenance issues, upkeep, overpaying, double paying, and issues during funerals were voiced concerns.

The manager says he understands and wants to make it right, but also wants the residents to understand the situation.

The owners are out-of-state, the cemetery has a long history of financial issues and still has them. The manager says he doesn't believe there are regulations as to how deep a grave needs to be dug in the state. He says the community can't maintain the cemetery themselves, because of insurance regulations. The manager told the crowd funding is a major issue.

As far as solutions, one mentioned would be to turn the cemetery over to the community but there are questions on that too.

Overall, residents say they just want this resolved. "I just hope to see Brookwood brought back to the way it should be," Watwood says, "It used to be the most beautiful cemetery in the county."

A lot of questions and an effort to give answers, facts, and solutions, but it's a situation that residents say isn't solved yet.

The city doesn't have a stake in the situation, as the cemetery is outside the city limits.