Flooding fears prompts Fayetteville to relocate cemetery graves

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— Fayetteville officials plan to relocate graves at one of the city’s oldest cemeteries because of floodwater fears.

Recent storms swamped Cross Creek Cemetery No. 3, and officials say the graves, which are mostly children, need to be moved to prevent future occurrences.

Jim Zieba is retired Fort Bragg Officer.

His son died the day he was born back in 1966, and he is buried in Cross Creek Cemetery Number 3.

Zieba wasn’t aware that his son, and about 200 other infants, are going to have to be moved to a different location.

“Because we don’t live in the area,” he said. “We pass through every Memorial Day and Christmas, and we come to put a little wreath on the baby’s grave.”

The flood water from Hurricane Matthew and Florence swamped nearly all of the graves.

The graves occupy about 18 acres of embankment along the west side of Lamon Street.

The fear is that the next storm with major flood could wash away the graves.

Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin said, “We certainly sympathize and are mindful of the fact that is is causing emotional distress.”

In addition to presiding over the city, Colvin is a funeral director.

“The one thing I hate about the profession is handling kids and people that you know,” he said. “My heart goes out (to the relatives) but at the end of it, I don’t know if we have a lot of choice.”

City Hall is waiting on contractor bids before they decided when the graves will be moved to Cross Creek Cemetery No. 5.