04/14/13 — Friends of Willowdale Cemetery building support for improvements

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Friends of Willowdale Cemetery building support for improvements

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on April 14, 2013 1:50 AM

Friends of Willowdale, a group dedicated to the restoration of graves at Willowdale Cemetery, is in the formative stages of planning improvements to the cemetery.

For months the group has been connecting with family members of those interred at Willowdale Cemetery, building an interest base in support of the project, said Charles Norwood Jr., a driving force behind Friends of Willowdale.

Willowdale Cemetery, which began in 1853, is owned by the city and any improvements to the site would have to pass through city approval before anything could actually be done, Norwood said.

"We have to be careful," Norwood said. "We can't do anything that the city hasn't approved and we haven't presented any recommendations to the city yet."

The group has been in contact with the Wayne County Historical Association, though, and is operating as an affiliate of the group.

Mayor Al King, City Manager Scott Stevens and the City Council were informed of the proposal in September and had given their support to the effort.

A fund also is planned to restore graves for which families are not interested in restoring family plots or plots for which no family members can be located.

The group's first meeting was Oct. 16, 2012.

They met to discuss proposed restoration to the grave markers as well as the areas around family plots.

The plan is being spearheaded by David and Emily Weil and Norwood.

The group is planning another meeting in the near future.