On Your Side: Plot Problems

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GRANITEVILLE, S.C.---The two cemeteries near Bethlehem Mission Baptist Church in Graniteville aren't in tip-top condition.

One Aiken County worker says that's just one part of a bigger problem with the plots, and it's been going on for a while.

Gerdie Hill says history is being lost at these two cemeteries.

The cemeteries are right next door to each other. One is managed by New Hope Community Church and the other is managed by nearby Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church.

Gerdie says neither property is being maintained properly.

In just one trip out there you can see grounds that aren't maintained, trash on the ground, unmarked graves and a road that seems to go right on top of several plots.

"I don't know if I'm running over someone's grave," Gerdie said.

Getting these cemeteries repaired and fixed up may not come easy.

12 on your side talked to Erma Anderson, who helps manage the new hope side of the cemetery. She's embarrassed by the bad parts of the cemetery, but she says she needs a lot more money to get things right.

"We spent $2000 last year. You can see what's here. I would estimate $5000," she said.

Aiken County Code Enforcement says this is not an isolated problem.

"This is something that's happening all over this area," said Aiken insurance officer Alton John.

The fix may come in the way of dollars, but without enough people caring to pitch in, this big part of Graniteville history may be lost forever.

Both code enforcement and Erma Anderson say part of the responsibility falls on the shoulders of family members of the deceased who aren't helping maintain the property.

Either way, it's going to take the whole community caring about this to get it corrected.

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