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Grace Lawn erosion problem is old news for Elkhart common council


ABC 57 first reported the allegations of bone fragments found in the Grace Lawn Cemetery on Sunday night.

On Monday we learned the city of Elkhart has decided against a test that could prove whether one of those fragments is actually human.

Mayor Dick Moore sent out an email to the common council saying the fragment found was most likely animal remains and the city would not be paying for further testing.

On Monday, Mayor Moore stuck to claims that no graves have been exposed at the Grace Lawn cemetery, even though the city has known the erosion was a problem for quite awhile.

It's no secret that the cemetery has been slowly crumbling into the river.

"It's been known by many administrations that the river was eroding back towards the cemetery proper," explained Mayor Moore.



On Sunday night, Moore took action and locked up the cemetery.

"To eliminate that danger that might be back in the cemetery and then of course for the preservation of the cemetery itself," said Moore, justifying the closure. "Those are the two reasons I closed the cemetery."

But, we wanted to know why the erosion problem wasn't addressed before we showed up and started asking questions.

"There's been a lot of work going on," said Moore "The money appropriated to do it was just done very very recently."

But just how recently?

"Well I think the money became available in the last one or two board of works meetings," said

According to a city ordinance, money was set aside for the cemetery last October. 

"Nine months ago it came before the council and we appropriated the monies then for the repair," said Ron Troyer, Fourth District councilman for Elkhart Common Council. 

Troyer said the ordinance ordered $59,000 for repairs at Grace Lawn Cemetery. The ordinance was signed on Oct. 5 by Mayor Moore.

"We just started working on it," said Moore. "Just a short while ago. We hired a consultant to look at it which we always would."

But on Monday, Troyer said the council will be stepping in.

"I feel partially guilty for not following up and seeing the progress and the time frame and the timeline of the repairs. It's brought up now and this is a serious concern that we need to address as council."

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