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Volunteers Work To Clean Up Princeville Cemetery, Want To Add To National Register

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PRINCEVILLE — Graves, dating back to the 19th century, are hidden under the shrubs and weeds in Princeville. Volunteers hope to clean up the old cemetery and turn it into a place of national interest.

The cemetery is a special place for Pastor Richard Joyner because many of his relatives and church members are buried there. He says he would like to see the cemetery look a lot better.

"When people come to pay respect to their loved ones, it's important that they have an atmosphere that will be conducive for them to have an experience of wholesomeness, a pleasant experience when coming here," Joyner says.

The Princeville cemetery has had its share of trouble. Last year, dozens ofcaskets floated awaywhen several feet of water covered the town. The weeds are so overgrown in some places that it is hard to see the gravemarkers.

The land is actually made up of four cemeteries that are privately owned. The problem is there is some confusion about who is supposed to take care of it, but there is a move on to clean the burial site.

Volunteers fromFEMA, the town and church members are working every weekend to clean the cemetery.

"There are young kids, the high school and middle age kids, are coming out and rather than letting them go into the houses, which I have some concerns about, we ask them if they would work with us in the cemetery," says planning director Samuel Knight. "They've been doing a fantastic job."

Once it is cleared, workers hope to have the cemetery added to theNational Register of Historic Places.

"If it's nominated to the National Register, it will give it a lot better chance in terms of getting grant money for maintaining it," says historic preservation specialist Science Kilner. "It will give it some protection."

Princeville's town leaders are asking residents to come out next weekend for a day-long cleanup at the cemetery.

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Brian Bowman, Reporter
Brian Bowman, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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