Relatives complain of deplorable conditions at Metro East cemetery

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KMOV.com

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 5:37 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 1 at 5:40 PM

CENTREVILLE, Il. (KMOV) -- A cemetery is often referred to as one's 'final resting place,' but some relatives are not resting after seeing the deplorable conditions where their loved ones are buried in a St. Clair County cemetery.

Myra Coates is heartbroken over conditions at Booker T. Washington Cemetery which dates back to the early 20th century.

"This is the grave of Tence Watson," Coates said looking at the barely visible grave.  "I don't know who Tence was, but she deserves better."

The Centreville cemetery was once one of the only places African-Americans in St. Clair County could be buried, but today it appears completely abandoned.

"As you can see there are graves that are deteoriated and are sunken in just due to nature," Coates said.

According to state records, the cemetery was operated for years by the Nash Funeral Home in East St. Louis.  The Nash family gave up ownership in 2009 after a death in the family.  Claudia Nash told News 4 that her family never owned the cemetery.  According to the state, the burden falls on Centreville Township.

Curtis McCall, Centreville Township supervisor, promised to take control of the situation.

"We can get our attorney's involved, their attorneys involved and maybe they can legally give us the property and then we can go from there and try to maintain it," McCall said.

It appears that years of neglect may finally come to an end as Coates has received a phone call from McCall's office to make arrangements to work on this together.

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