Community cleans overgrown Acres Homes cemetery

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by Larry Seward / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on September 15, 2012 at 6:35 PM

Updated Saturday, Oct 13 at 4:11 PM

HOUSTON – Neighbors upset with an overgrown cemetery took matters into their own hands in Acres Homes Saturday. 

Their work party cleaned, even though none have relatives buried there, because they’re all afraid of what could happen.

Weeds in the cemetery at 8200 Wheatley stand so tall, they bury most headstones. Harris County records say the property owner owes hundreds in back taxes. Meanwhile, maintenance seems long overdue for those living nearby. 

It’s so bad, the city of Houston is threatening something that has neighbors nervous. A bright yellow sign warns that the city could take or auction the property to strangers.

It’s something that concerns neighbors. They believe those buried there deserve better. 

"I don’t have nobody in this grave yard, but I seen that sign out there," Ruth Randle said.

With rakes, weed-whackers and purpose, neighbors are doing what even loved ones of people buried there do not.

"All of us are taking an effort to just keep this place, get it clean, keep it cut, keep it straight," said Michael Brown, another neighbor.

"I went to several churches and the churches told me that they are coming out," Randle said. "But, they haven’t come out. I even tried to call Sheila Jackson Lee’s office. I tried to call Sylvester Turner’s office. I’ve called them and I’ve tried."

It has taken two weeks, but their weekend work party has cleaned-up half the cemetery.

"This is a community thing for us," said Yolanda Perez, a volunteer.

What remains unfinished is a challenge. Their work party plans to clean the cemetery every Saturday. They are hoping relatives of people buried there join in.

UPDATE: A larger group of volunteers joined the group's cause three weeks later.  Still, organizers are hoping to get even more help.  If interested, contact Michael Brown at (832) 297-8828 or Ruth Randle at (832) 816-4253.

 

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