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Schools’ gift to grow Evergreen

Carrabelle is on the verge of expanding its Evergreen Cemetery, thanks to a decision by the Franklin County School Board to give them an additional five acres.

At the tail end of last week’s May 6 meeting, one marked by some contentious squabbling between neighbors regarding adherence to zoning rules, Commissioner Tony Millender shared the uplifting news that for the cost of a survey and $100, the school board had voted unanimously to give the city the acreage to expand the cemetery.

“We’ve talked about adding additional ground for our cemetery, because we’re running out of space,” he told the commission.

He said he had spoken with School Board Member Pam Marshall, who talked with Superintendent Stave Lanier, about getting the acreage from the former football field, which in contiguous with the existing Evergreen Cemetery.

“They jumped right into action, I was proud and appreciative of how quick they responded,” Millender said.

Mayor Brenda La Paz, who attended the board’s April 29 meeting, said she surprised how smoothly it went, as part of the consent agenda, “It was a done deal just like that,” she said. “They’ll certainly be getting a thank you letter from the city. The folks need to understand the school board stepped up and we do appreciate it.”

County Attorney Dan Hartman suggested that when the survey is done, it should include a focus on it being a cemetery. City Administrator Courtney Dempsey suggested the work be done in phases.

“There’s a lot of clearing that needs to be done before we could lay down plots,” said Millender. “We don’t need to clean the property before we can do the plotting.”

La Paz estimated that a topographical survey would cost at least $4,500. County Engineer Russell Large said a determination should be made as to whether the water table is too high, which could create problems with the land becoming a cemetery. He estimated that borings with hand augers would cost in the $1,500 range.

“I’m just concerned you’ll be able to use it for its intended purpose,” he said. “We’re speculating that part of it is usable. You’re getting a good deal on it; I wouldn’t hesitate.”

La Paz said the entire property is in the AE flood zone, similar to the land around City Hall. She proposed the city conduct workshops on the project, “to expand this cemetery in a good orderly fashion.”

The city last year upgraded Evergreen, to include roadway resurfacing, new fencing, and new signage. Located on Gray Ave, near the intersection at NE Fifth Street, Evergreen is the original City Cemetery, and features the graves of Carrabelle’s founding families, as well as funeral art, and antique headstones throughout.

Last year the city also did upgrades to the Isle of Rest Cemetery, on U.S. 98 at the easternmost city limits, which included new fencing and new signage. Isle of Rest Cemetery, the final resting place for numerous generations of local African American families, has a diversity of gravestones and monuments from slabs of the 1930s to the more recent marble-style headstones. Some graves are marked with modest crosses and a few burial sites are unmarked.

To purchase a gravesite at Evergreen, people must come to City Hall. The current cost is $300 for a double plot and $200 for a single plot.

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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