KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — What started as a way to bring Crestview Cemetery back to life after not being kept up for years, it was soon revived and locals decided a new chapter would begin for the largest African American burial site in Knox County.

“We put our minds together throughout the week and decided to have something today, somewhat of a community balloon release for those who missed out on Mother’s Day because of the lack of upkeep or any holidays or birthdays,” Denzel Grant who helped organize the event said. “We just wanted to be able to give the community an opportunity to come together.”

Grant took it upon himself to clean up the cemetery by cutting the grass that was covering most tombstones, keeping visitors from finding their loved ones. Now a new leaf has turned as the grass is cleared and working to restore the cemetery has begun.

“It means a lot to me, my mom is buried right over there,” Rose Clark, who helped bring the condition of the cemetery to the community’s attention, said. “That’s what touched my heart to get this started. My grandmother is buried over there, my dad is up the hill, my brother is up the hill, I have a niece and god kids over there.”

As the list goes on for many, gathering to celebrate life was only part of the mission. As the cemetery does not fall under the responsibility of the county or city, the community plans to keep the historic cemetery alive.

“The whole point in this was to find a long-term solution,” Grant said. “Being able to come back and visit that loved one, it drives a person’s spirit. Not being able to do that for so long and finally being able to today, and hopefully here in the future, I think it’s a huge benefit to those individuals,” he said.

Clark said the last time the cemetery was kept up was three years ago.