HAZARD — Thirty to 35 graves in a section of an abandoned Perry County cemetery will be removed and relocated after the Perry County Fiscal Court approved a resolution to do so at its monthly meeting last week.
Kenneth Hall, owner of Rest Haven Cemetery, presented the court with the resolution to move the graves, nearly all of which were unmarked and unidentified, from their current location just along Highway 15, approximately three miles north of Hazard across from Andy’s Honda ATV shop at Bonnyman, to his cemetery in Jeff.
Hall indicated that the graves were very old and, in most cases, were marked only with rocks.
“I think there’s approximately 150 graves up there, and they’re only getting that one section,” Hall said as he addressed the court.
Judge-Executive Denny Ray Noble later explained that the graves needed to be moved to accommodate the reconstruction of Kentucky Highway 15 in that area.
“Highway 15 is going to be a four-way [highway] all the way to Jackson,” Noble said. “The new road will take part of that cemetery.”
Hall said an ad had appeared in the newspaper for eight weeks, requesting the public to contact the Department of Highways with information about the cemetery, such as the names of persons buried there or their next of kin, but information of this kind was never received. According to Hall, only one of the graves had a known occupant and the family had been contacted.
“Once we move them up there, they’ll have new markers,” Hall continued. “Each one of them will have a marker. Of course, it’ll say ‘unknown name,’ where it was moved from, and the date it was moved.”
The court unanimously approved the resolution.
Noble said the road construction crew will rebuild a way to the old cemetery and blacktop it for easier access.
Later in the meeting, Magistrate Frank Hurley requested the re-opening of Harvey Mountain Road due to the upcoming road construction on Highway 15. Hurley said this was in the best interests of the residents of 16-Mile Creek, and would relieve traffic by giving those people a quicker route to Highway 80. The court approved a motion to explore the matter further and to try to have the road re-adopted into the county road plan so that it could be re-opened as a county road.
In other business, the court approved a resolution authorizing the filing of a 2014 Kentucky Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application. Judge Noble said the grant would help fund the construction of pump stations that would pump water into Fort Branch, an area of the county that has never had city water.
Noble said the project costs $1 million, and the CDBG would give the county over $400,000 to go along with over half a million dollars in coal severance funds already waiting to be used for the project.
“Fort Branch is on top of a mountain,” he continued. “There’s probably 60 or 70 homes in there. They’ve never had (city) water, and they don’t have water now.”
Noble said the City of Hazard applied for a CDBG last year, but was turned down. He said he hoped they would get it this year and that Tony Wilder, commissioner of the state department of local government, said he would assist in getting the grant.
Judge Noble said that another project, the Lewis Hollow Water Line Project, is fully funded by coal severance dollars. The court approved a payment of $9,249.50 for the project. So far, the project is on schedule, and Noble said over $30,000 has already been used to fund the water line project in this area of the county.
To end the meeting, the court approved a series of roads that will be adopted into the county road system: Over Yonder Drive, Buck Hollow Lane, Woodrow Noble Lane, Ryan Little Lane, Peters Fork Road, Diane Cemetery Road, and Mountain Top Lane.
Mindy Miller can be reached at 606-436-5771, or on Twitter @HazardHerald.