Graves at Mid-Michigan cemetery in danger of washing away - WNEM TV 5

Graves at Mid-Michigan cemetery in danger of washing away

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CHESANING TOWNSHIP, MI (WNEM) -

It's supposed to be a place to come and remember your loved ones in peace, but Mother Nature has other ideas.

Water is threatening to disturb the tenants of a local cemetery from their final resting place in Chesaning Township.

"We have increased action out here on the river bank. How far it's going to erode we do not know," said Bob Corrin, township supervisor.

The Wildwood Cemetery is literally being washed away, impacting as many as 20 graves.

"We have deterioration of the river bank caused by a previous slide that changed the hydraulics of the river and now the banks are eroding, getting very close to the burial sites," Corrin said.

Cemetery workers had to dig up and move two plots because of the issue. The problem is the cemetery sits at a curve of the Shiawassee River, causing the river's current to wash away the soil.

The cemetery has already lost 30 feet of land. The only thing separating the resting souls from the neighboring river is weather and time.

Officials at the cemetery said moving bodies won't be easy. It's a lengthy process and it'll be affecting bodies that have been at the cemetery for more than 125 years.

"We have to advertise. We have to try and make notification to the family and then three weeks of advertising that the lawyer will do for us. Then you have to petition the court to do this. It's all quite lengthy," said Bill Headrich, township treasurer.

Headrich is on the cemetery committee. He said they think the eroding has stopped for now, but said the real problems will come this winter when the ground freezed, causing it to expand and contract.

"There may be one or two graves that are in danger right now. Unless something serious happens, we don't know what's in store for us. Mother Nature, God, whoever you wanna believe is in control of that, not me," Headrich said.

For now, the township won't have to do anything but prepare for when and if the next patch of land shifts.

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