FEMA approves clean-up of tornado damage in Raleigh cemeteries
Posted September 23, 2011
Raleigh, N.C. — More than five months after a tornado uprooted trees in three historic cemeteries near downtown Raleigh, city officials received federal approval Friday to clean up the damage.
Family members of people buried at Mount Hope Cemetery, a historic African-American graveyard, have complained about the delay. Trees also remain down at City Cemetery, the oldest public cemetery, where Raleigh's founding fathers and legislators are buried, and at O'Rorke Cemetery, which dates to 1858.
Before Raleigh could be reimbursed for cleaning up the cemeteries, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and state preservation rules required an archaeological survey be completed.
The survey was completed in August, and FEMA officials approved the clean-up after reviewing the archaeologist's findings.
According to the survey, seven trees unearthed vaults, caskets or human remains, while 19 trees disturbed headstones or grave markers. Mount Hope sustained the most damage, but three partial skeletons were unearthed in City Cemetery, the survey reported.
Raleigh officials plan to advertise next week for bids to clear the trees and repair the damaged graves. Work could begin by mid-October.