Braxton Citizens' News, Community

Braxton Cemetery drainage system deteriorating

By Shirley Shuman

Those responsible for the overall upkeep of the Braxton County Cemetery, a four-man Board of Trustees, want the public to know that they currently face a serious problem: The draining system for the cemetery is in dire need of reconstruction. Basically the infrastructure has deteriorated to the point of water standing in the walkways and even sink holes appearing where the drainage system has collapsed.

The Board of Trustees—Harold K. Skidmore, Clark Greene, Ken Skidmore, and Bill Slade, feel the public needs to know about this problem Harold Skidmore explained. “As trustees, we are just interested in informing the community about the situation and finding the solution before the damage gets any worse,” he said. “We would appreciate any information about finding support for this project or any help the community can provide,” he added.

Braxton County Cemetery came into being in the1950’s, one of the trustees explained, as the Sutton Dam was being built. The Corps of Engineers purchased 10 acres of land for the cemetery as they had to relocate family cemeteries that would have been flooded by the waters of the dam and the lake. They began relocating graves around 1959, according to records. They moved 17 family cemeteries from the farms which would be flooded. Currently, the trustee noted,  Approximately 2100 of the designated burial plots are used or reserved.

When the cemetery was created, the Corps of Engineers designed the drainage system to handle the water run-off from the main road and surrounding hills. They placed the complex system in designated walk areas “to avoid any interference with the graves,” one familiar with the situation indicated. He added, “However, as all infrastructure does over time, these systems deteriorate and collapse.”

This Board of Trustees faces a gigantic problem in getting this system repaired. The members realize the repair or reconstruction will require a major engineering project, and they do not have the funds to pay for such a project. They have taken steps to find a solution to the problem. They have consulted with, but of course not yet hired, an engineering firm. The group also approached the Braxton County Commission, from whom they received permission to contact the Commission’s grant writer to help them apply for a grant(s).

Now, the cemetery’s Board of Trustees is welcoming any donations that citizens or business owners may wish to make.