Kristie Ammons’s father died unexpectedly, the River Valley
Cemetery on Louisville’s far southern end was the only place she
could afford to bury him.
“I wouldn't plant my dog in
a place like this, let alone my father. This is not a place you
can rest in peace,” she says.
Water in recent days has
pooled so high that in some areas that grave markers are now
“No one would pick this, no
one would choose this.” Ammons had no choice. Plots, as well as
burial services here, are free. The cemetery is maintained by
Metro Parks for the poor and impoverished.
“Had I been in my right
state of mind I would have said, ‘Stop this. This is not
happening, put him back in the van. And, we are going to put him
someplace until we can figure out what to do to put him in a
decent resting place,’” Ammons says.
The young, the old, war
veterans and people who gave up their bodies to the University of
Louisville for scientific research are buried here.
“Speechless. It’s just
unreal,” says Tee Aiken, who lives near the cemetery. It’s his
first visit. He came out of curiosity.
“This is disgraceful, it
really is. If I had a loved one buried here, I would be fighting
City Hall or somebody,” he says.
Metro Parks says with a
miniscule budget for upkeep, it does the best it can.
“We do a fairly good job
with day to day maintenance,” says Jason Cissell of Metro Parks.
“There are acts of nature like heavy downpours of rain that will
have impacts for short periods of time.”
Ammons says she's
appreciative for the park’s help. Her father Gary Hess's battle
with cancer left the family ill-prepared late last December to pay
for a funeral.
Ammons has been here three
times and she says with each visit, the scenery gets more
depressing. LG&E’s Cane Run Road plant and its mountain of
ground waste overshadow River Valley.
“Every time I see
smokestacks, bulldozers and puddles and trains, that is what I am
thinking of: my dad. And I can't imagine he's resting in peace or
I am not resting in peace. The family is not,” she says.
Web story produced by Jay