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Historic cemetery to undergo community-wide clean-up

In an effort to preserve one of Demopolis’ most historic features, the Historic Riverside Cemetery Beautification Committee has organized a Clean-up and Work Day at the cemetery on Tuesday, Oct. 25 at 8 a.m.

The Riverside Cemetery is home to several graves dating back to the 1830s, so the Beautification Committee encourages the entire community to help maintain this piece of Demopolis history, said Louise Reynolds, Beautification Committee member.

Reynolds said the clean-up day will be used to cut back shrubbery, move dead trees, weed, prune and even add new plants.

Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina left the cemetery grounds in rough shape, with numerous trees lost and limbs littered throughout.

“Basically, we’ll be cleaning up and cleaning out,” Reynolds said.

The Beautification Committee has held clean-up days in the fall and spring for the past three years. Reynolds said the ultimate goal is to have the historic cemetery in shape for viewing by visitors to the area.

“Last summer we started a new project to develop a privately-owned open area adjacent to the cemetery to beautify the old cemetery and, hopefully, to minimize vandalism. The project is nearly complete. We need to do some hand pruning and plan to add some plantings in late fall,” the committee stated in a press release.

According to the release, the goals of the Historic Riverside Cemetery Beautification Committee are:

1. To beautify Historic Riverside Cemetery

2. To solicit funds for beautification.

3. To encourage personal lot work (repair and paint fences).

4. To encourage community work (volunteer work days).

The release noted that on-going maintenance is not a goal or responsibility of the committee.

“We are grateful to Mayor Cecil Williamson and new city horticulturalist Jason Seay for their support and assistance,” the release said. “We need every hand available. There will be something for anyone to do. Please bring your sharp hand tools, chain saws, pole cutters, rakes, shovels, and work gloves. You do not have to have loved ones buried there to help!

If you do have loved ones buried there, please remove fading and/or shedding artificial flowers and vases. This will assist in the clean-up efforts.”