UPDATE: Cemetery group takes matters into their own hands - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

3 ON YOUR SIDE

UPDATE: Cemetery group takes matters into their own hands

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SPRING CITY, TN (WRCB) -

After residents complained for more than a year about poor conditions at Spring City Memorial Gardens, they decided to take matters into their own hands.

Several people formed a committee, and they could soon become the cemetery's new owners.

"We've come a long way in the last year with this," said Lee Miller, who has helped organize the new Spring City Memorial Gardens Association.

Last year, the cemetery's grass was knee-high. Dirt had been piled up for months. Some people's graves were sunken in. Others' headstones were missing.

One man's wife was buried in the wrong place.

"Her grave plot has been so mistreated. It's really hard to take," Walter Alley told Eyewitness News last year.

The cemetery's grounds started getting neglected after the former owner's father died.

Last May, Miller, along with other concerned residents, reached out to 3 On Your Side.

"Things really started happening when you did the story," Miller said.

State lawmakers got involved, along with funeral home directors, like Donna Vaughn of Vaughn Funeral Home in Spring City.

Volunteers started showing up to mow the grass themselves. County Mayor George Thacker was one of them.

"It's taken a year to get it where it's at now. I really feel like we'll never go back," said Thacker.

Many families in Spring City have generations of loved ones at the cemetery.

"My wife is buried here. My mother and father. My wife's mother and father (are here)," explained Jim Martin, who was tired of seeing the grounds so neglected.

"We knew that something had to be done," Martin said.

That's when the Spring City Memorial Gardens Association was formed, "to work for the common good of keeping this maintained," Martin explained.

Miller said the board is in talks with the state to transfer ownership to the community group.

"We want people to be proud of what we're doing. I'm excited about it, Miller said.

The Spring City Memorial Gardens Association is taking donations to help keep the grounds maintained. Donations can be sent to Community National Bank in Spring City, under the "Spring City Memorial Gardens Association" account.

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