Sandfield Cemetery upkeep raises questions at City Council meeting

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Questions over the maintenance of a Columbus cemetery unearth further questions about its ownership.

At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, Columbus resident and attorney Nicole Clinkscales approached the Council about the upkeep of Sandfield and Union Cemeteries.

Union is privately owned, and the City cannot perform maintenance there, but Sandfield has long been under the city’s care – at least most of it has.

The main portion of the cemetery, which sits along College Street and west of Martin Luther King Drive was deeded to the city over a hundred years ago. Public works maintains it.

There is a smaller section on the east side of MLK, whose ownership is unclear and is mostly kept up by families who have loved ones buried there.

Clinkscales would like the city to take over that part as well, and she has support from city leaders, but it won’t be simple.

“The historic side of, west side of, Sandfield Cemetery we’re very interested in making sure it’s maintained at the appropriate level. We are looking into outsourcing the care of the cemetery, just as we’re doing for the Friendship Cemetery. I’ve been in discussion with individuals who are interested in grant writing and doing some more research on the cemetery,” said Mayor Keith Gaskin.

“It’s not the city’s responsibility at this point. If we eminent domain it, it will be thereafter. We can use Section 21: 1911 to put a lien on the property if we go in and clean it up, but one of the steps in that process is to notify the owner. So, we’re really kind of hung up on even doing that,” said Jeff Turnage, a Columbus city attorney.

Some proposed upgrades for Sandfield include adding a fence and a permanent stage for public presentations.

Categories: Local News