Residents voice concerns about conditions at Marshall Memorial Gardens

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. - We've received numerous phone calls, emails, and Facebook messages from people concerned about the condition of Marshall Memorial Gardens cemetery.

"I've been seeing some issues down here," said Harold Thrasher, as he pointed down the path at Marshall Memorial Gardens.  He has several family members buried in the cemetery.

Thrasher pointed out muddy tire tracks that trekked over markers, deep gouges in the dirt over graves, and an area marred by deep tire track ruts.

"It looks like they're going out there and mud bogging in the graves," he said, "Tire tracks over graves, they've got holes, I've even seen plots that's got the holes dug down all the way to the vault."

He isn't the only person who's frustrated. Several viewers reached out to us with their concerns.

"It needs mowing," Thrasher said, pointing to an area where tall grass climbed up benches and covered markers.

Things seem to be in some better shape from when folks started reaching out to us last week. Thrasher said he saw some people out working. Still though, things aren't the way he and a lot of others would like to see.

"That's not just showing disrespect for us, that's showing disrespect for the people that worked hard to pay for these plots," Thrasher said.

The cemetery staff reached out to us with their side of the story. They said they haven't been able to mow parts of the grounds because of all of the rain, and said the cemetery was built in a low-lying area and holds water. They're in the process of correcting and/or replacing the damaged items. A statement reads in part: "We are very aware of the damage in the cemetery. None of this was done in purpose. Because families do not update their contact information with us over the years, we have no way to let them know when things like this happen."

To read the full statement, click on the two following links: Page 1  Page 2

The cemetery staff said families of damaged markers have not come in to ask what happened. Thrasher said his family complained about the conditions.

"They was disrespectful to us. That ain't right either," he said.

He said his family wants things to change.

"On every decoration we used to have music, people bring food, we'd eat out here, and that's what it needs to be back to," he added.

The cemetery staff asks families to let them know if they find issues when they visit a grave, and to let them know about damage to a marker or vase.