Possibilities exist if looking for solutions
Mr. Phillip Patterson city administrator, with all due respect, in response to your comments about driving by Hico Cemetery and not seeing people "milling around"... that is not an accurate indication that people don't go by there and spend a few minutes there.
As a distant relative of the people there, I can tell you it is a place to come and stand where you know your people once stood. It would be much better if the site was original, so you're at the exact location of the grave and not just a place where the stones had been moved to.
As genealogy is becoming more and more main stream there may come a time when you see more distant family members there. It'll be a shame for them to learn that first the stones were moved and then the grave areas were paved over with cement almost 40 some years later.
People should ask themselves how they would feel if Oak Hill all of a sudden had a sidewalk added down the middle of it right over graves too, with of course, the stones being moved before hand. Maybe it would have been better to attempt to move the stones back in place over their correct grave using your GPR and done away with some of the "Round Memorial" area or built a guard rail and the wide sidewalk on the outer edge so that the cemetery could be left in peace and your citizens safe on their walks or a one-way street in that area so that there would be more room for a wide side walk.
Lots of possibilities exist if one looks for alternate solutions. Not everyone would be happy I'm sure. But at least one less "old thing" would be tossed aside or tore down in the name of progress.
Did anyone check cemetery laws?
I am extremely appalled that the city of Siloam Springs would think that people would not care about a sidewalk being constructed through a historic cemetery! It was bad enough when the cemetery was desecrated the first time in 1976 by placing all of the stones in a circle, thus altering the integrity of the cemetery in its original state and affecting the sacredness of our loved-one's final resting place.
It is for reasons such as these that the Benton County Cemetery Preservation Group and the Washington County Preservation Group were formed. People need to know that those two groups, and in particular the Benton County group in the case of Hico Cemetery, are a great resource for information when it comes to situations such as these. Did anybody check with the Arkansas State Cemetery Laws before beginning construction of the sidewalk? Apparently not.
For if they would have they would know the following:
• 5-39-211. Cemeteries -- Mining and other unlawful entries. (a) It is unlawful for any corporation, company, or individual to: (3) Make, place, or drive any slope, pit, or entry of any kind into, under, through, or across any cemetery, graveyard, or other burying place in this state. (b) Any corporation, company, or individual violating a provision of this section is guilty of a Class D felony.
And this is just one of several laws.
GentryEditorial on 04/04/2018
Print Headline: Letters to the Editor