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Bartow Cemetery headstones leaning, could be fixed | News

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Bartow Cemetery headstones leaning, could be fixed
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Bartow, Florida -- For more than a hundred years, the City of Bartow's Municipal Cemetery has been a final resting.

But in recent months, there's been some un-rest over hundreds of the cemetery's gravestones - sinking, leaning and in some cases, even toppling over.

"It was a combination of maybe one or two people and internally staff also brought the issue to the cemetery committee to make them aware fo the issue," said Angie Whisnant, whose parks and recreation department oversees and maintains the cemetery.

Whisnant is now charged with righting the headstones and stabilizing them. Most likely with concrete foundations.

How to pay the estimated $46,000 to do that, will be taken-up by the city's Cemetery Committee this week.

"The city, I believe, and the commissioners are dedicated to making it a very respectable place," said Whisnant.

There are several possible reasons the headstones are leaning. Natural erosion, settling from utilities work done over the past year - even fire ants buroughing beneath.

Officials say trees in the cemetery may also be part of the problem.

For example, when Laura Monroe was buried in 1899, the oak tree next to her headstone was probably a seedling. Now, its massive roots have disrupted other gravestones belonging to other members of the Monroe family.

"That would be good. Very good," said Tina Alvarado, who buried her mother, Santos Roriguez here nearly three years ago.

Alvarado thinks the city is doing the right thing, by showing sympathy to its current residents and respect and dignity to those who've come before them.

"It says that they have respect for them. Have the respect for them that they are there,"she said.

In the future, the city will mandate concrete bases be placed under headstones to provide stability.

The Cemetery Committee meets to discuss the plan this Wednesday at 4 p.m.

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