Lane Street Project: WRAL and the August 17 agenda.

First, WRAL’s reporter advises that his piece on Vick Cemetery will air tonight, August 16, during the 7 o’clock broadcast. Please tune in.

Second, the agenda for Thursday night’s council meeting has been posted. Note item 3d.

This is a surprise, but a generally welcome one, as we have asked the City to take advantage of New South Associates’ expertise. I urge alertness though. Do not let the City position New South as the only voice that matters, and their opinions, therefore, as the end of the discussion about Vick’s future.

On information, Sarah Lowry’s recommendations will go to how the City can prevent further ground disturbance at Vick Cemetery. This is a curious focus as, for the past 110 years, all the unwarranted ground disturbance out there has been at the City’s hand. Who would a fence keep out? Who rampaged through with bush hogs and graders and asphalt and power poles? The City of Wilson and its various contractors, and we already know how to stop that. Recent incursions like dumping and spinning can be thwarted with simple chains that the Cemetery Commission’s grounds crew can unlock when they need to access the site.

I’d rather hear what New South has to say about the bodies lying in the public right-of-way or about the right and role of descendant communities in determining what to do at Vick. If you go to tomorrow’s meeting, please ask New South, or the City, what should be done about the power poles erected inside the cemetery? Or the guy wires that continue to stab into the earth? What are the recommendations for marking individual graves (as has been done in Statesville)? For placement of interpretive signage? Can the parking pad be safely removed (since this is Grant Goings’ bright, new idea)? If so, can  the 18 or so graves beneath it be exhumed (and DNA-tested) and reinterred in Rest Haven? What about exhumation of graves lying in the right-of-way?

Also, ask council for

  • an independent investigation into the disappearance of the headstones removed in 1995-96 (and of the document(s) identifying those markers);
  • ground-penetrating radar of the unsurveyed edges of the cemetery, especially the public right-of-way at the front, where New South’s markers already show the presence of graves;
  • preparation of a full land survey map of the cemetery showing all physical features, easements, and rights-of-way;
  • formal engagement with the descendant community (outside the constrains of a city council meeting).

Please show up in numbers tomorrow night. Take notes. Record. This will be a crucial meeting. Thank you!

One comment

  1. Perhaps Council took their queue on getting New South to attend from the email you referenced? How do we ‘“formalize” Lane Street Project’s consultation? Here are my own notes for Thursday comments.


    * Acknowledgement of receipt of letters of concern and advice from Lane Street Project Director and Volunteers (such as myself) that outline acceptable approaches to the Vick Cemetery Restoration
    * Resolution of the roles to be played by CoW staff, the Cemetery Commission, Lane Street Project and professional consultants in directing the process of envisioning and implementing responsible designs for the project including whatever capital improvements are necessary to establish its place as an essential and sacred memorial to the founders of this town.
    * Key decisions for what is to come will deal with the streetscape provided by Bishop LN Forbes (formerly Lane Street). An accessible and welcoming front that correctly borders and identifies the properties of Vick, OddFellows and Rountree Cemeteries is paramount to the success of the project.
    * Existing storm drainage via ditches on both sides of the street must be replaced with appropriately engineered subsurface drainage. Parking and a sidewalk providing accessible entry points to the properties should be included along the street.
    * A low retaining wall, perhaps of brick reminiscent of the walls that define the boundaries of Barton College might be used to traverse the grade differences between the cemetery grounds and the street and provide an attractive border with appropriate signages.

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