City new owner of historic cemeteryPublished 8:06am Friday, October 5, 2012
Now that the City of Bainbridge is the legal owner of the historic Pineview Cemetery off College Street, Mayor Edward Reynolds clarified the city’s plans for its upkeep going forward.
The cemetery was legally condemned on Aug. 17, at which point the city government acquired ownership of the cemetery. The city condemned the cemetery, which had fallen into disrepair, so that it could better maintain the property.
The city had to pursue a special process for condemning property because there was no clear owner and attorneys representing the city had been unable to find a title for the land.
Citizen Jeanette Smiley spoke before the council and said she was the chairman of the Pineview Cemetery Committee, which had recently re-formed around the purpose of improving the cemetery.
Citizen Doris Cosby, who also spoke before the council, asked whether the cemetery committee had any official affiliation to the city government. Councilman Luther Conyers replied, “no” and reiterated that the city had taken over sole ownership of the cemetery.
Mayor Edward Reynolds clarified that ownership of the cemetery now allows city employees to go on the property at any time. He said the city makes final decisions related to cemetery rules, such as how any available remaining plots are assigned in the future.
However, Reynolds said he welcomed advice from the cemetery committee and other concerned citizens as to how the cemetery might be best managed.
Citizens will be allowed to claim plot ownership by submitting a notarized oath that they are in fact the rightful owner, by family relation or other interest.
The more difficult issue that remains is mapping out who is buried where and which plots are still available for future burials.
Citizens had previously asked the city to consider a system of marking off areas of the cemetery to help visitors determine where members of a certain family are buried. Many of the graves are marked with dates ranging back to the early 1900s and late 1800s. There are numerous armed forces veterans there, including at least one “Buffalo Soldier,” the nickname for African-American soldiers who fought in the U.S. Army’s 10th Calvary Regiment during the Indian Wars of the second half of the 1800s.
In other business, the city council:
• Approved a request to close Water Street, from West to Broad streets, between the hours of 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. to accommodate the city’s Pumpkins in the Park event.
• Approved a request from members of the city’s Historic Preservation Committee to allow individuals to serve beyond the previous limit of two two-year terms on the board. Councilman Conyers said the change would allow members who want to continue serving and are “doing a good job” to stay on the committee.
• Approved a bill in the amount of $4,957 from Eagle Advantage Solutions of Duluth, Ga., for annual support of the computer records system used by Bainbridge Public Safety.