The Lexington Leader; Lexington, Kentucky; April 18, 1973; Page 46 column 5-6

City May Take Over Old 7th Street Cemetery

The Old Seventh Street Cemetery could be converted into a low-rent housing project area, a new park or cleaned up and left as open space by the city.

An ordinance may be up for consideration by the Board of City Commisioners this week which would revert the ownership of the old 7.5 acre cemetery to the city.

Being prepared by the city law department, the ordinance would mean the closing of the graveyard and removal of bodies to another location.

Mayor Foster Pettit said the city wants to relocate all the bodies into another cemetery in the city where the graves can be properly cared for.

When this work begins, the city will have the task of locating the graves and identifying the remains since many of the graves do not have headstones.

The old cemetery lies between Seventh Street and the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway tracks near Shropshire Avenue.

At one time it was owned by a black Baptist church and was listed on some maps as "African Cemetery No. 2" said Les Renkey, an attorney in the city law department who is trying to determine the cemetery's present owner.

"We've been told about a 100-year lease which conveyed the property from the city to a private owner and which expired in 1971, but no one has yet found a copy of it," Mayor Pettit said.

Mr. Renkey said records showing ownership of the cemetery or burials in it appear to be missing from government files.

The mayor described the cemetery as a "terrible eyesore."

Robert Jester, an official of the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, said complaints to the department had ranged from high grass and rats to illegal garbage dumping and shallow graves.

The cemetery is seldom used for new burials.

The city has been trying to find out who the owner of the property is for approximately six months.

Before it was listed to the Baptist church it was referred to as a potter's field in some documents, Mr Renkey said.

After passage of the ordinance reverting the ownership to the city, the mayor said people who have claims on the property can come forward and their claims can be settled.