LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - No set person or group has continuously looked over The Greenwood Cemetery in Chickasaw since 1989.
The cemetery closed because its owners were using unlawful burial practices. Then it started to literally crumble from the lack of maintenance.
Since 1989, the cemetery’s care has fallen under the jurisdiction of the attorney general’s office. To do anything to the cemetery, volunteers need to get court approval.
Monday, Trees Louisville had to ask a circuit court judge for permission to plant trees at the cemetery.
Eddie Hardimon’s father is buried at Greenwood. There have been times he could not reach his father’s grave.
"To ask permission to plant trees here when there’s no one really looking out for the cemetery -- I don’t see why the red tape should prevent that,” Hardimon said.
Ronald Logan II’s great-grandmother and grandfather are buried at Greenwood.
"It hurts to hear someone has to get permission to plant something that would beautify the cemetery,” Logan said.
The executive director of Trees Louisville, Cindi Sullivan, went to a judge to get that permission.
“What we’re trying to accomplish is to create a historic landscape,” Sullivan said. “A cultural landscape that would provide respite for community members and show we have respect for the people that are in the cemetery buried.”
Sullivan said cemeteries are the best places to plant trees because they’ll be there forever and trees can grow to their full potential.
“Our goal is to be able to create more landscape amenities in the neighborhoods,” Sullivan said. “Particularly the Greenwood -- Greenwood has really been neglected.”
Logan said when his parents told him his great-grandmother was the first person buried in the cemetery, he took its maintenance to heart.
“Growing up I’ve seen overturned tomb stones at a point and time you couldn’t even see over here,” he explained.
Volunteers can help clean up the cemetery the second Monday of each month. For more information, or to get involved with the Greenwood project, click or tap here.
Planting the seeds for the future, Greenwood goes beyond what the eyes see behind its gates.
"If it’s looking rundown then they think the whole community is rundown,” Logan said.
Hardimon added: "There’s a lot of people out here that mean a lot to a lot of folks that are still around.”
After 15 minutes, a judge granted Trees Louisville permission to plant trees at Greenwood.
"[We’ll] start resetting stones and eventually we will plant trees, but not until we get lots of things in place will we be able to plant trees,” Sullivan said.
Before volunteers plant trees, they need to look at maps to see where all the gravesites are. Sullivan said the cemetery was supposed to hold 9,000 burial plots, but more than 30,000 people are predicted to be buried there.