New concerns at Cullman Memory Gardens 1 year after mausoleum leak


CULLMAN, Ala. (WIAT) — There are new concerns at a Cullman area cemetery that took the spotlight more than a year ago when an unsettling liquid was first reported leaking from a mausoleum on site.

The unsettling liquid leaking that was reportedly leaking from the mausoleum may have dried up, but as of May 4, 2014, the stain was still visible on the sidewalk.

Ed Heaton, Eddie Williams and Betty Denton each have several family members buried at Cullman memory Gardens. They are all upset about the current condition of the cemetery grounds and the property as a whole.

“If you look at the cemetery half of the marker’s are out of the ground, half of them’s cut crooked, some of them’s underground. We came down last year and weedeated. We found markers completely growed over with grass. I mean there’s no sense in that,” said Heaton.

The cemetery is currently in bankruptcy. Heaton, Williams and  Denton  routinely volunteer to clean up around the graves. Denton is upset that ruts have been created in the cemetery. She said dirt from recent burials hasn’t been removed.

“It’s sad, it’s just sad to come down here and just see the mess that they’re leaving. And there’s nobody to take care of it,” said Denton.

Denton adds that the situation at the mausoleum is unacceptable. It’s been closed until further notice since June 2014.  She told  WIAT that some families have been able to move their loved ones from the mausoleum, but said there are obstacles to making that happen.

“You have to go through so much paperwork and red tape to get it done and it’s expensive, it’s expensive,” said Denton.

She said the situation makes her very angry.

“Because these people bought into this place thinking they would be took care of and that their family wouldn’t have to deal with this. But it’s come down to the members that’s got families here taking care of it,” said Denton.

Heaton is also upset about the situation at the mausoleum.

“The mausoleum up here has not been taken care of. We had the problem of leakage. I think they finally cleared that it wasn’t dangerous, but still the problem is there we need somebody to take care of that,” said Heaton. “When you come to put flowers on a grave you want to be able to go to the grave. You want to be able to go to the mausoleum, wherever it’s at. To me it’s kind of heartbreaking. I know a lot of people that’s got people down here that’s not able to come out.”

Lisa Hall lives right across the street from the cemetery and has family buried at the site. She is very worried about it’s upkeep.

“The leak at the mausoleum is very disturbing,” said Hall. “I’m angry, I’m upset. I feel like we’re being abandoned. When I’m gone, what’s going to happen to my father’s grave or any of these other graves over here. And what’s going to happen to the cemetery?”

Williams, Benton, and Heaton all want to see a board of citizen stakeholders get control of the property.

“We’ve tried that, but they put a price on it.  I’m not going to quote no prices right now, but we can’t afford to buy it. It’s going to take some cooperation or somebody with a lot of money to buy it. But if they’d just turn it over to us and let us take care of it, we could maintain it. They’re not doing it,” said  Eddie Williams.

The group is organizing another clean up day for Saturday May 9th, at Cullman Memory Gardens.

WIAT reached out to the bankruptcy court appointed trustee over the cemetery for comment, but at press time we had not received a response.

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News

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