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Park Lives as Cemetery Plan Dies

Maple Hill Cemetery, the oldest cemetery in Alabama, will not be expanding after Huntsville residents urged city leaders to reconsider expansion plans that would have resulted in the loss of neighboring Maple Hill Park

A Huntsville, Alabama park, threatened by a proposed expansion of an adjacent cemetery, has a new lease on life.

Just days after city workers removed picnic tables and playground equipment from Maple Hill Park – drawing the ire of city council members who had yet to vote on the cemetery takeover – workers returned this week to spruce up the park.

“It was poorly handled,” Huntsville Mayor Loretta Spencer said after meeting with department heads involved in the equipment removal decisions.

Spencer said she will yank the Maple Hill Cemetery expansion ordinance from the city council agenda and restore the park.

“I am pulling this from the agenda and I have ordered new playground equipment,” she said.

Spencer said the equipment will be paid from a $50,000 line item in the budget for recreational equipment and should be installed within a month.

City workers on have begun repainting a pavilion and reinstalling picnic tables and benches. Spencer said she has instructed her city landscaping director to remove overgrowth to enhance the park’s safety.

The park resurrection comes on the heels of public outcry at last week’s City Council meeting over the dismantling of the park with no advance notice. Council President Glenn Watson apologized to residents for the way it was handled.

Source: Huntsville (Ala.) Times

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December 10, 2019, 6:51 pm PDT

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