New owner wants to clean up Piedmont Cemetery, which was called ‘terrible’ a year ago

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Damtia Turner is planting flowers for her sister-in-law ahead of Mother's Day weekend at Piedmont Cemetery.

The Greensboro native has seen the cemetery in bad shape before, calling the conditions a year ago "terrible."

They were so bad, some people couldn't even find the site where their loved ones were buried, among the weeds and tall grass. The community had to step up to mow and trim the grass.

The caretaker died and the property went into foreclosure last year and sold at an auction.

"It looked pretty bad when we first came," said Piedmont Cemetery's new manager Danielle Washington.

The new owner, Clarence Boston, owns American Standard Vault Company Inc. on South Elm-Eugene Street in Greensboro, and has relatives buried in the cemetery.

He says he didn't buy the plot out to make a profit, but it was more about restoring the place to where it was in the 1960s.

A notorious African-American cemetery in the community, Boston says this restoration is about respect. He paid about $6,000 in back-taxes when purchasing the lot in auction.

"It's something that we knew we couldn't fix in a day," Washington said. "Piedmont didn't get the way that it was overnight, so it's going to take us some time to get it back, but we're working hard every day."

"It's really nice now, I really like it," Turner said. "I think the new owners is doing a great job."

Washington says they'll be mowing the cemetery again ahead of Mother's Day weekend and she will be at the refurbished gatekeeper building to welcome people visiting loved ones to take input on the restoration job.