Scott County may have found buyer for cemetery

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Scott County commissioners have discovered a way to get paid for their six-month investment in the upkeep of the Forrest Hills Memorial Cemetery in Morley, Mo.

They may have even found a buyer.

And yet, they are still playing the waiting game, said First District Commissioner Dennis Ziegenhorn.

"We anxiously await a decision from the attorney general," Ziegenhorn said.

"They keep saying two weeks, two weeks; it's been about eight weeks," he said.

At a meeting Thursday, commissioners decided to file a lien against the Forrest Hills Memorial Cemetery.

The lien will ensure they get reimbursed for their expenses when the property does change hands, Ziegenhorn said.

The Sikeston Standard Democrat reported that the county incurred $3,750 in costs for the property, just on mowing alone, since the grounds, along with two other area cemeteries, were abandoned by their original owner, Mike Graham and Associates of Houston.

A March court order released the care and maintenance of the properties to the city of Sikeston and Scott County.

"We think it's our duty to do, but also we'd like to get it in someone else's hands," Ziegenhorn said.

The county has been able to earn about $3,000 from selling lots on the cememteries, which would be turned over to the new owner upon transferral of the deed, Ziegenhorn said.

Sikeston city manager Doug Friend confirmed that the city attorney was in contact with a potential buyer.

"They're in discussions, and we do hope that a sale is imminent," Friend said.

Friend said the potential buyer is Dale Birk of Jackson.

"Birk has a contract to maintain the landscape and is very interested in purchasing the cemetery," Friend said.

Attorney general spokesman John Fougere declined to confirm the names of potential buyers, but did say that progress was moving forward.

The deal seems to be moving in the right direction.

There is an interested potential buyer, and there's "certainly a seller," Ziegenhorn said.

335-6611, extension 245

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