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Community members gather to clean up Crestview Cemetery

Some visitors have a hard time finding their loved ones in the cemetery due to knee-high grass and weeds.
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 6:52 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A trip to visit her mother’s gave for Mother’s Day turned out to be heartbreaking for Destiney Clark.

“She literally got out here and pulled the grass from around her headstone so that she could put flowers on her grave,” shared Clark’s sister Shantary Inniss.

Inniss said after hearing about her sister’s frustrations, she decided to try looking into who owns the property of the historic cemetery and who’s responsible for its up-keeping.

While making calls and digging into who owns the property, WVLT was told by a spokesperson for the City of Knoxville that Crestview Cemetery is one of nearly a dozen cemeteries in the area that is abandoned and on private property.

After having no luck on pinpointing an owner, Inniss reached out for help.

“There’s a few people that I call when I want something done and Denzel Grant is one of them. I didn’t even call him. I shared my sister’s Facebook post and within the hour he was out here trying to see what he could do,” shared Inniss.

On Tuesday morning, Denzel Grant was able to round up a few volunteers to cut the grass of the Cemetery. He feels this is a consistent issue that needs a permanent solution.

”It’s been a continuous issue for the past probably five years honestly. I think that’s why I decided to step up. Not only to just come out here today obviously to do what we do, but to try and find a solution to fix the continuous problem,” said Grant.

Previously the yard work at the cemetery was taken care of by Knox County Inmates, but we were told by the Sheriff’s office that since the COVID-19 pandemic, many low-level offenders were released early, and there are now fewer inmates to work as trustees in the community.

Knowing what it feels like to lose a loved one, Dwight Harris, who started a lawn care company with his late father called ‘Pops & Son Lawn Care,’ said he had to answer Grant’s call for help.

”This right here is sad man, so I definitely look at it like I don’t mind putting a hand in and helping out wherever I can,” shared Harris.

In the meantime, Grant said he plans on helping to cut the grass at the cemetery bi-weekly, but would like to have a contracted solution made between the county or the city with a lawn care company.

”I’ve been able to connect with Dwight (Harris) and a few either companies that’s gonna be networking with doing those negotiations with the city or whoever owns the property so we can get some contract work done or like I said just figure out a solution to this continuous problem,” said Grant.

Speaking on behalf of her sister, Inniss said Clark is thankful for the community support in taking care of Crestview.

”You could’ve interviewed her but she wouldn’t have made it through because she would have cried the whole time so she’s overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for sure,” shared Inniss.

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