Cemetery traffic a concern for alderman

Published 11:21 am Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Too much traffic in the cemetery and the problems it causes drew the ire of North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield at a meeting of the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Alderman Monday.

After a brief State of the City address from Mayor George Flaggs Jr., Mayfield said he is making the city’s cemetery, and the traffic that goes in and out, a priority.

Mayfield, who is on the city’s cemetery committee, said that he has been disturbed by what he has seen in recent weeks.

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“I’m finding some things that are a wow factor to me,” he said. “I’ve been around that cemetery all my life — my parents moved us to that area in 1969 when I was 12 — and I had never noticed some of these things.”

Earlier this month, area funeral directors met with city and county officials to discuss logistical issues when there is more than one funeral service going on at the same time.

Those issues, Mayfield said, could be addressed with some different scheduling of funerals.

“I’m going to introduce, along with the committee, some changes as it relates to the city cemetery. Some of those changes will be days and hours of the week,” he said.

With narrow driveways through the cemetery, located on Sky Farm Avenue, cars are often forced to park on grass to allow oncoming vehicles to pass.

What Mayfield saw while watching this process, he said, was upsetting.

“It amazes me to see how people will be disrespectful enough to park on the graves,” he said. “That happens when you have more than one funeral.”

“It breaks my heart that people can be so insensitive. Hopefully we can cut down on traffic in the cemetery so everybody can stay parked on the road,” he added.

After announcing last month that the committee would look at ways to cut down on problems at the cemetery, Mayfield said even more issues have come to light thanks to tips from the general public.

“When the public found out we were looking at this, they started calling me. They told me all sorts of things to look for,” he said. “I’ve seen some things that were right under my nose because I was not aware to be looking for them. There are going to be some changes made if the board chooses to vote for it.”

After Mayfield’s update on the cemetery committee, South Ward Alderman Willis Thompson asked for public input to the recreation committee — an ad hoc committee appointed in May by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to examine the city’s recreation programs and present recommendations to improve the overall program over the next five years by Dec. 31.

“We need to hear from you,” he said. “It’d be naïve for us to think we have all the answers. I know there are great ideas among the people of this community, especially with our recreation committee.”

He and city IT support will come up with a way for people to provide input.

“I thought maybe we could open it up on a larger scale to hear from the public.”