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Cemetery solutions to be discussed

By Charlotte Smith

The Elizabethtown City Cemetery behind the Bladen County Public Library in Elizabethtown has shown significant geological damage since Hurricane Florence. Town of Elizabethtown Mayor, Sylvia Campbell, and other Town officials assure residents finding solutions for the damage at the grave site are of top priority, but finding the solutions will be a slow process.

Elizabethtown Assistant Town Manager, Pat DeVane, referenced two items on the Elizabethtown Town Council’s agenda for Monday, November 5th, related to the cemetery damages and possible solutions.

One item will be for a contract with WK Dickson & Co, Inc., an engineering firm, to assist the Town with possible restoration solutions for the geological damages at the cemetery.

“They did come to town and do a walk through at the cemetery already,” DeVane stated.

The second item on the agenda will be for another contract with a different company for soil borings and testings. Soil borings are tests of the soil performed by geotechnical engineers by drilling holes into the soil in order to determine different factors about the soil.

“We have been trying to get the preliminary items behind us. This contract will help us get soil scientists to help us,” DeVane explained. 

“The process will be very slow,” Madden reported in an earlier interview about the repairs needed at the cemetery.

Madden did say property near the airport in Elizabethtown has been secured for a new cemetery. The objective for the new property is to allow anyone who wishes to move their loved ones’ remains from the damaged cemetery on S. Queen Street to the new property to do so, according to Madden.

Although property has been secured for another cemetery in Elizabethtown, the new grave site is not ready to be used at this time according to DeVane. Engineer work will also be needed at the new grave site for survey and mapping work.

“I don’t know how long it will take, but we should be able to get it ready in a few months, not years,” DeVane said.

Exactly what costs will be involved in repairing the cemetery on S. Queen Street, along with costs in preparing the new cemetery, are not known at this time. The Elizabethtown Town Council will have to make decisions on each location DeVane explained.

Mayor Campbell reported earlier this month the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assisted a cemetery in Fayetteville with damages in the past with funding and is hopeful the Town of Elizabethtown will receive assistance from FEMA for the repairs needed at the cemetery as well.

Public discussions about the two proposed contracts in reference to the cemetery will be held during the Town Council meeting on Monday, November 5th. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.

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