Harriman graveyard in disrepair; city leaders took to help

Harriman graveyard in disrepair; city leaders took to help

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Many say one section of the cemetery, constructed in the late 1800's, has fallen into disrepair and has been vandalized many times. Many say one section of the cemetery, constructed in the late 1800's, has fallen into disrepair and has been vandalized many times.
"We can't spend government money on private property, so, unless it's deeded over to the city, we can't pave it," said Harriman Mayor Chris Mason. "We can't spend government money on private property, so, unless it's deeded over to the city, we can't pave it," said Harriman Mayor Chris Mason.
"We're trying to rekindle the interest in the cemetery, and to restore the cemetery back to where we families can visit," said Rittenhouse. "We're trying to rekindle the interest in the cemetery, and to restore the cemetery back to where we families can visit," said Rittenhouse.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

HARRIMAN (WATE) - Several residents and officials in Harriman want to improve parts of the Harriman Cemetery.

Many say one section of the cemetery, constructed in the late 1800s, has fallen into disrepair and has been vandalized many times.

In the past year, those who oversee the cemetery have seen an increase in vandalism. Headstones have been turned over in most cases. 

Jess Rittenhouse, with the Harriman Cemetery Association, says the problem usually happens at McCaroll Graveyard, an African-American graveyard, located next to Harriman Cemetery.  

Rittenhouse wants to clean up McCaroll Graveyard. 

Many of the graveyard's tombstones are in disrepair and others have been knocked over.   

Rittenhouse says family members of people buried there want it cleaned up.

"We're trying to rekindle the interest in the cemetery and to restore the cemetery back to where we families can visit," said Rittenhouse.

Rittenhouse is asking the city to help with some of the cleanup and repair.

He wants to improve the access road leading to the graveyard from the cemetery, but in order to pave the road, the city would have to own McCaroll Graveyard.

The graveyard isn't owned by the Harriman Cemetery Association. In fact, nobody can find the deed to determine who owns it.

"We can't spend government money on private property, so unless it's deeded over to the city, we can't pave it," said Harriman Mayor Chris Mason.

Mason says he still wants to find a way to improve the cemetery. He has already asked the police department to beef up security.

The department is also looking into installing a security camera at the cemetery.

Mason will report his findings of the cemetery's conditions to city council members next month. 

"We're going to pitch in and help and do what's right," Mason said.

The cemetery association relies heavily on volunteers to help with cleanup. The group meets every other Saturday. 

If you're interested, contact Jess Rittenhouse with the Harriman Cemetery Association at (865)223-1942.

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