NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (FOX 56) – A debate reignites between the Maple Grove Cemetery in Nicholasville where families are pushing back against city ordinances related to plots they own.
Frances Noe is one of many Nicholasville families who recently heard that their plots were tampered with by cemetery workers when items like benches were removed without their notice or approval.
“I’m mad and I’m hurt,” Noe said.
Noe’s late granddaughter Heather Grigsby is buried at the Maple Grove Cemetery after she was murdered three years ago. Since then, Noe has had a bench, and other installments like solar lights, around her granddaughter’s grave where she comes to pay her respects.
However, the position of the bench on her granddaughter’s headstone has been at odds with the city’s cemetery rules for years.
“They said I had to put it like it was my headstone on my grave, so that’s what I’ve done, and without warning, they’ve removed everything after we just went there,” Noe said.
Nicholasville City Manager, Doug Blackford, said that the city established policies back in 2006 that include benches not being allowed. Due to the growing number of benches in the cemetery, Blackford said it’s put the worker’s safety at risk.
“Every time we go into that section, to bury a new member, we have to remove those benches and stones, and you have to hand move those, with equipment you take a chance with breaking the property,” Blackford said.
The city said there are signs about the cemetery that states the rules, but family members like Noe who have paid thousands of dollars to the cemetery believe there should be exceptions for good reason.
“I paid good money for that bench,” Noe said. “I remember I paid $900 for each plot, and then I paid $900 for them to open the grave and dig the hole and put the dirt back in the hole, and then I paid about $10,000 for Heather’s funeral. A lot of us elderly people, we need those benches to sit and visit with our loved ones.”
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“We didn’t want to be any more stricter than our other local cemeteries in the community and outside of Central Kentucky, and we saw this was a consistent ordinance,” Blackford said.
Noe’s response is, “You know, I don’t care what other cemeteries do. This was our cemetery, this was the people of Jessamine County’s cemetery.”
Noe said she hopes the city can find mutual ground with her and other families that feel slighted by the recent removals of their plot’s possessions. Blackford said he’s open to hearing any feedback to improve the disagreement.