Gravesites covered-up by overgrown grass at historical cemetery

Historic cemetery neglected

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla — Loved ones are demanding answers. They say a historical West Augustine cemetery feels like it’s been abandoned.

Robert Bradwell says he went to the Woodlawn Cemetery on Saturday to visit his late friend Dion Greene’s final resting place.

He returned the next day with help from family to mow the grass around Greene’s gravesite.

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“We had to cut our way to get to Dion,” he said.

Action News Jax first reported about conditions here in 2018. Families were concerned by the lack of maintenance at the graves, including the final resting place of a World War II veteran.

More than a year later, we found very little has changed.

Greene’s plot is among many that appear neglected and overgrown.

Many gravesites are almost covered in weeds.

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“As St. Johns County is not the owner of the cemetery, we are legally prohibited from entering the property or performing any work on the site,” said Michael Ryan, communication director for St. Johns County. “In addition, the county does not have the legal ability to grant permission or issue a permit for another party to enter the site or perform work as it is private property.”

There is a Florida statute allowing local governments to maintain abandoned cemeteries, but the county tells us the cemetery hasn’t been considered abandoned, even though the owner of the property is unknown.

Until there’s a more permanent solution, Bradwell says they’ll keep doing what they can.

“We plan on going out there at least once every month, to see what has to be done,” Bradwell said.