Grieving family members bring weed eaters to cemetery

Grieving family members bring weed eaters to cemetery
Family members had to use weed eaters to cut a path to their loved one's grave. (Source: WBRC)
Earnest Green (Source: WBRC)
Earnest Green (Source: WBRC)
Tiara Allums (Source: WBRC)
Tiara Allums (Source: WBRC)

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - This Mother's Day, family members aren't bringing flowers to grave sites, they're bringing weed eaters.

Family members told WBRC Shadow Lawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery is so overgrown, they can't even find their loved ones' graves.

We witnessed families having to cut a path to each headstone.

One grieving daughter said it is heartbreaking to see the property in such disrepair.

"I can't even get over there. I don't know what's in those bushes," said Tiara Allums.

She said she came to Shadow Lawn to visit her mother's grave site on Mother's Day, only to be told her family couldn't find it.

"My uncle has been over there three times. He still couldn't find it," she said.

It's a problem her family said has been going on for years.

Such a lack of maintenance at the cemetery that tall grasses and shrubs have taken over.

"It's like they abandoned the cemetery and they're treating our loved ones like they'e trash," said Allums.

She said it's a shame to see a cemetery with such history looking the way it does now. And Earnest Green agrees.

"Out here, it's really bad," he said.

His mother is buried here. He said he's frustrated and hopes someone will step up to make a change.

"You don't know what to do," he said. "And you've gotten to a point where you just have to pray about it and hope that things have changed."

"This is just unacceptable," said Allums. "Someone needs to come up with a game plan and fix it. It needs to be fixed."

We spoke with city councilor Sheila Tyson.

She said the cemetery has no owner, but a perpetual care association is tasked with raising money for maintenance.

The group's financial officer John Lanier said it costs $6,000 to cut the grass once, and they just don't have the funding to do that often.

Lanier said they were given $35,000 from the city of Birmingham on the last day of fiscal year 2017, but were told that money could not be used to cut the grass.

Lanier said they are given $5,000 a year from the perpetual care fund, but that doesn't cover the cost to cut the grass once.

Tyson said she asked the city to set aside funding for Shadow Lawn's upkeep, and it's being looked into.

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