Graves popping out the ground at Lake City cemetery

LAKE CITY, Fla. -- In Lake City, it is called the Garden of Rest Cemetery but what's beyond the archway has some residents concerned about what they're seeing.

"It is the Garden of Rest but some people call it the Garden of Terror," said Beatrice Harris.

Harris, 64, and her daughter Teresa have family buried in the Lake City cemetery. They say the condition has become an insult to their loved ones

"It is a slap in the face," said Teresa Harris.

On Tuesday, after the rains, one of the graves popped up and the casket was showing.

"There's no reason I would have been able to tell you the color of the casket," said Teresa Harris. "It was a green casket."

Their concern is that there will be more; some of the graves are under water, others are sinking into the soil.

"You can see there's one where it looks like it is going under," said Teresa.

After her call to city hall and someone contacted Brenda Combs of Combs Funeral Home and her company fixed it.

"Who wants to come out here an see their family member floating around the cemetery?" said Harris.

Garden of Rest is one of two African-American cemeteries in Lake City, the other is on Wilson Street; they are both old and without an owner.

"They have been like that for a number of years," said Bob Hathcox.

Hathcox is Lake City's Director of Growth Management. He said the city is not responsible for the cemeteries, but will maintain the landscape.

"The city right now is doing lawn maintenance through public works," he said.

He said even though the burial park is not the city's responsibility if a resident calls city hall with a concern, they will try to address it.

"If something like this happens in the future and if it is reported to us or we find it, I guarantee you the city will take action," he said.

This week when the grave popped up, Beverly Wisman of the Code Enforcement Office contacted Florida's Funeral and Cemetery Board looking for solutions.

"I'm hoping to get the right way to handle the situation if if should happen again," said Wisman.

The Harris family would like to see a long-term solution.

"I would like for somebody to come and maintain even if it is adding fill dirt," said Teresa Harris.

The residents would like the city to take responsibility, if no one else will, but for now that seems extremely remote.


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