Cleanup begins on tornado damaged cemeteries

December 2, 2011 8:14:32 PM PST
Cleanup has finally started on three Raleigh cemeteries damaged by the April tornadoes.

Thursday, crews started removing some of the massive trees at Mount Hope Cemetery on Fayetteville Street. It's one of three historic cemeteries near downtown that suffered major damage in the storm.

Officials say it will take about three weeks to clean up Mount Hope before repairs begin on City Cemetery and the O'Rorke Catholic Cemetery. However, some delicate stone work at each location could push back the completion dates even more.

"If the monument restoration needs to have a little bit more extended time, there may be a bit of a lag but as soon as we can possibly open them, we plan to open them," said Raleigh urban forester Sally Thigpen.

Officials say archaeologists did find some human remains at City Cemetery during a survey. Those remains are being preserved for safekeeping and will be reburied once cleanup is complete.

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