The Bowling Green City Commission today approved an agreement that accepts the donation of a family cemetery on Lois Lane and responsibility for the continued care of the cemetery.
The agreement was approved over objections from Mayor Bruce Wilkerson, who was the only member of the city commission to vote against the measure.
Wilkerson expressed concern that the city is setting a bad precedent by taking over the cemetery along with responsibility to maintain it.
"I think we're getting stuck," he said. "I think we're setting a terrible precedent."
He said there is some confusion in state law when it comes to maintenance of private family cemeteries.
One KRS statute states that: "Every cemetery in Kentucky except private family cemeteries shall be maintained by its legal owner or owners ... in such a manner so as to keep the burial grounds or cemetery free of growth of weeds, free from accumulated debris, displaced tombstones, or other signs and indication of vandalism or gross neglect."
However, Wilkerson pointed out that another statute states that "The governing authorities of any city within whose corporate limits any burying grounds lie may require the owner or those having claims to the grounds to properly care for them."
He also presented a number of other options as to how the overgrown property could be dealt with, including moving graves to a location where they could be easier cared for and subdividing the land among adjacent landowners and allow them to care for it.
Commissioner Bill Waltrip said that the agreement is the best solution to the issue and is a way for the city to correct an issue for a neighborhood.
Under the agreement, the owner of the cemetery – George Covington – will transfer the property to the city and make a donation of $22,000 to be used for the perpetual care of the cemetery.
Plans for initial clean-up of the cemetery include bringing goats in to clear undergrowth, said Brent Childers, director of neighborhood and community services.
– See more in Wednesday's Daily News.