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‘In Bloom’ checks on city’s cemetery projects

Those responsible for awarding a $25,000 grant to Brookhaven to beautify several cemeteries are checking on the fruits of the city’s labor today.

Work on the project, “New Life for Old Cemeteries,” began with Hillcrest Cemetery and will include Carver Heights and Rosehill cemeteries, said Brookhaven Alderwoman-At-Large Karen Sullivan, who is the chairwoman of the city committee overseeing the work.

The grant was awarded by Canadian National to Brookhaven and to other cities along their railroad. CN’s grant is administered through “America In Bloom,” and AIB representatives will be in Brookhaven to see the work as well as tour the city.

A representative from AIB visited the Brookhaven committee and helped them get started on applying for the grant last fall, Sullivan said. Landscaper and Tree Board member Warren Stamps is in charge of delivering the plants, preparing the planting area with soil amendments and planting them in a professional design, she said.

“The work started with Hillcrest Cemetery, a city cemetery that needs much enhancement in the way of green, blooming plants. That cemetery is not finished,” she said. “Carver Heights, another much-neglected cemetery which needs a facelift badly, is now in the process of receiving new green and blooming trees.”

Rosehill, the largest city cemetery at 22 acres, is next on the list.

“With the hot summer months upon us, work will likely resume when it gets cooler in the fall,” she said.

Joining Sullivan and Stamps on the committee are Mayor Joe Cox, City Clerk Samantha Melancon, Public Works Director Keith Lewis, Water Superintendent Kris Xifos, MSU Extension Agent/Tree Board advisor Rebecca Bates, Tree Board member Jimminette Phillips and Lincoln County Master Gardener President Perry Smith.

The grant requires the city to involve volunteers in the cemetery project.

“The Master Gardeners will lend whatever help they are capable of, the Boy Scouts will be asked to help and any other groups or individuals are highly encouraged to pitch in on the project. We will try to keep volunteer chores as light as possible,” Sullivan said.

This is Brookhaven’s first year as an America in Bloom participant. Following the visit, AIB judges Jack Clasen and Cindy Brown will provide the city with a detailed written evaluation citing strengths and opportunities for improvement.

Judges will be evaluating the community’s efforts in the areas of flowers, landscaped areas, urban forestry, environmental efforts, celebrating heritage, community vitality and overall impression.