The Covington City Council officially accepted a donation of land from Billy Fortson that will add 30 grave sites to the Covington Southview Cemetery, located behind Conyers Street Gym.
The land, located in the back of 2197 Church St., was around a third of an acre and will be divided into five plots, each of which will be divided up into six gravesites. Fortson will get one of the five plots, leaving four for the public.
The cemetery hasn't had any available plots for many years and that's prevented current residents from being able to bury their loved ones there. When Fortson first offered the donation, the council decided to open a waiting list for residents who wish to purchase a lot.
Before lots are sold, the council must first revise its plot fees. Under the current ordinance, cemetery plots only cost $25 plus the cost of maintenance. The council decided previously that price was outdated and it will revise the price based on price comparisons in other cities, ranging from $325 to $800 per plot. Some cities have separate fees for residents and non-residents, who have to pay a premium.
In related news, some plots may also become available in the future along the East Street portion of the cemetery. Around 300 slaves graves were found in the area using ground-penetrating radar, which have since been marked with circular metal discs. The areas that don't contain graves could be made into plots. The only concern is that not all slave graves were found as ground-penetrating radar is not 100 percent accurate.