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Damage could stop traffic through cemetery

A Brookhaven alderwoman wants to stop cut-through traffic at a city cemetery.

Alderwoman-at-Large Karen Sullivan is upset that someone crashed a vehicle into one of the wrought-iron gates at the entrance to Rosehill Cemetery Saturday.

The gates are open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to around sunset, Public Works Director Keith Lewis said. This allows people to visit the graves in the 22-acre cemetery during daylight hours.

Sullivan said the cemetery, which is located next to Brookhaven High School, is known to be a cut-through for drivers, who can enter or exit at the gate in the front on East Monticello Street as well as gates in the back on East Cherokee Street.

Sullivan said she recently parked near the entrance to prune the crape myrtles to keep them from touching people’s cars and she had to move her own several times to allow traffic to get through.

“If you’re around Congress and you want to avoid the high school, it makes sense,” she said.

Police at the scene questioned the driver who struck the gate Saturday. It is not known if a citation was issued.

A log truck crashed into the gate at Carver Heights Cemetery, off South Grenn Street, about six months ago and took out the gate and a brick column.

The city paid for the repairs then and will be on the hook for the Rosehill repairs as well.

Smith Welding surveyed the damage Monday, but it’s not known yet how much it will cost to fix it, Lewis said.

“We can’t keep replacing gates and signs,” Sullivan said.

Rosehill Cemetery was established in 1861 on land given to the city by Rev. Milton J. Whitworth, who founded Whitworth College. More than 5,000 people were buried there as of 2012, including 22 unknown Confederate soldiers, according to the historical marker from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Ironically, the cemetery’s name is misspelled on the marker as two words, according to members of the Rosehill Cemetery Restoration Foundation. An error in the application for the marker could be to blame. The name is correctly spelled as one word in the sign over the entrance.