New Live Oak Cemetery to reopen this weekend

Published 7:59 am Thursday, May 11, 2023

Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. is making good on his promise to reopen New Live Oak Cemetery by Mother’s Day weekend.

In a press release Thursday, Perkins said the cemetery, which was heavily damaged during the January 12 tornado, will be open to the public Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m.- 7 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m.- 7 p.m. 

“I made a commitment to the public that I would have the cemetery open for public access on Mother’s Day weekend and even though the cleanup is incomplete, I will keep my word,” Perkins said in the release. 

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Perkins also commented on the cleanup work that has been frustratingly slow for many in the community, especially those who have loved ones buried there or need access to place or repair markers damaged in the storm.

“Clean up work will continue in the cemeteries on Friday and Saturday, but cleanup will cease on Sunday,” Perkins said. “There will be public safety and cemetery personnel on hand to provide direction and assistance.”

The Dallas Avenue entrance will be the only entrance open to the cemetery for ingress and egress, with parts of the cemetery roped off to keep visitors safe. 

“The main entrance off Dallas Avenue is the only way in and out of the cemetery,” Perkins said. “All visitors are required to follow the directed paths only. There will be a safety warning sign at the entrance way and some areas may be roped off to provide a warning of a potential hazard. For safety reasons, we strongly encourage people to observe the warnings and govern yourselves accordingly. All other cemeteries remain open from dawn to dust [sic].”

Debris removal will cost between $8.6 million and $9.5 million and was awarded to DRC Emergency. Perkins said the scheduled cleanup by DRC begins Monday. He said Public access will continue; however, areas where work is being performed will be restricted.

“The cemetery has been the most challenging phase of the cleanup because of the emotional and historic significance of the site,” Perkins said. “We do expect another visit from the Alabama Historic Commission this week to ensure that we have followed their requirements and up to this point, I feel confident that we are complying. Again, thanks to all who understood the need to ‘go slow’ to get this right.”