Locals say cemeteries in Panama City are in "poor condition"

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - While many areas in Panama City are recovering from Hurricane Michael's devastation, several locals say the cemeteries in the city are still in poor condition and want city leaders to take action.

Panama City officials share their plans to clean up local cemeteries. (WJHG/WECP)

Locals say they have seen high grass, downed trees, and even broken headstones at cemeteries in Panama City.

Panama City Assistant City Manager Jared Jones said they removed more than 90% of fallen trees and other the hurricane-related vegetation debris from the cemeteries, including items damaged fallen trees. He said they are waiting on approval from FEMA and Florida Department of State Historic Preservation Bureau officials to move forward.

"We've not received any authorization from FEMA to replace or repair damaged headstones, coping, and other items in those cemeteries. There's a large historic preservation that takes some time," said Jones.

Jones said they plan to make repairs in the three city cemeteries which include Greenwood, Oakland, and Millville Cemetery. He said they also plan to clean Hillside and Redwood cemeteries.

"As those plans become available we'll let the public know," said Jones. "We'll certainly inform the public on when we'll be working and certainly if there's heavy equipment in the area and when they can come back and visit loved ones. If they so desire."

Jones said it will cost around $200,000 for fencing replacement and repairs and $500,000 for debris removal and cleanup for all five cemeteries. He said the numbers do not include the price of grave and grave maker repairs.

Jones said they will plan to start repairing Hillside Cemetery first because it took the most damage from the storm.

He said the also plan to maintain the cemeteries throughout the year.

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