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Condition of Mt. Olive Cemetery leaves Green Cove Springs resident heartbroken

"I feel heartbroken, sadden because we should think more of our loved ones than what we are seeing."

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — There is a simple sign at the front entrance, but some residents say there is nothing simple about the problem the community sees.

"It is deplorable," said LaTonya Latimore.

Latimore, 54, is a Green Cove Springs resident. She said many of her family members are buried in Mt. Olive Cemetery

"My grandfather, my grandmother, my great-grandmother, my brother that was four years young than me [are buried there]," Latimore said.

Recently she visited the gravesites and walked away dishearten by the condition of the cemetery in the very back.

"I feel heartbroken, sadden because we should think more of our loved ones than what we are seeing," Latimore explained.

Most of the graves are Green Cove Springs residents. The cemetery is operated by a community association made up of residents.

Latimore would like the city of Green Cove Springs to take over the upkeep of the cemetery.

"Why can't they maintain that one. that is my big concern: Why?" she asked.

Tiffanie Kelly, a spokesperson for the city, told First Coast News it is private property, and the city does not maintain any other cemetery in Green Cove Springs.

A check with the Florida Funeral and Cemetery Board revealed Mt. Olive Cemetery is not licensed with the state, therefore there is no jurisdiction.

There are provisions in Florida law for a municipality to take over an abandoned cemetery.

However, Mt. Olive is cleaned twice a year and does not meet that definition, even if the city wanted to take it over.

Green Cove Springs City Council member Connie Butler is familiar with Mt. Olive as her loved ones are also buried there.

Butler said in order to meet the demands of some of the residents, the association would have to increase the fees charged for burial in Mt. Olive.  

She said the residents are reluctant now to pay the small fee that is charged, which is less than $400.

What she would like the community to do is get more involved, when there is a clean up show out in numbers. That way they can get to the areas that need the attention the most.

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