Community teams up with Greensboro fire department to clean up cemetery

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Marian Harris couldn't bare to see her parents resting place in the condition it was at Piedmont Memorial Park in Greensboro.

"I love my mom and my dad, and I couldn't come down here anymore and see how everything was," she said.

She was heartbroken over the sight of waist-high grass towering over the flowers planted for loved ones and burying the grave markings to the point they were hard to find.

"I can't sit down on this, not just for my parents, for my family, for everybody that's out here," Harris said.

So she took action, organizing a cleanup Sunday afternoon. Dozens of people showed up with lawn mowers, weed whackers, shovels, brooms and more.

"Even just a little spot makes a big difference," Harris said.

During the cleanup, some took the time to pay respects.

"The whole community out here, not just for you grandma, we're here for everybody," said Bernard Boswell after cleaning up his grandmother's site and several sites around it.

The overgrown grass was a result of months of neglect between a major caretaker of the property passing away last year, and the property being under foreclosure for not paying about $4,000 of property taxes since 2009.

Ultimately, it will all be cleaned up once the City of Greensboro comes in on Monday to inspect the property, mow the rest of the land and send the owners a bill.

Someone sent in a complaint several weeks ago about the cemetery for violating a local ordinance for the grass growing too high.

But over the past week, folks have been making the city's job easier, chipping away at the massive overgrowth.

"I don't have any problem to come out here and do this each and every day if I have to," said Gary Morton, a veteran cleaning up his father's site, along with other vet sites.

The Greensboro Fire Department helped out with half a dozen men grabbing what they could to continue to project.

"It's heartwarming to see the community coming together," Harris said.

And for Harris, whose parents have been buried here for decades, she can now rest easy, knowing she's done what she can to give them the respect they deserve.

"I can rest at night knowing something is being done," she said.

The current owners have a court date on June 5th for the foreclosure process, but eventually the cemetery will be auctioned off and the new owners will take on the roughly $4,000 owed to the county in taxes.

If no one bids on the property, the city of Greensboro is required by law to place a bid.