A $3,700 contract to repair Evergreen Cemetery was unanimously approved by the Tuscaloosa City Council on Tuesday.
The contract, awarded to J.S. Masonry Inc. of Tuscaloosa, will go toward repairing brick columns that were damaged or destroyed in May, when a motorist drove into them.
A gated portion of the decorative fencing already has been repaired, said Jarrod Milligan, acting executive director of the city’s Infrastructure and Public Services, and insurance proceeds will fund the work.
Elected leaders said they wanted the masonry repairs at the cemetery, located across from Rama Jama’s restaurant and Bryant-Denny Stadium, to be completed as soon as possible with the University of Alabama’s fall semester fast approaching.
“It’s a black eye right at the point where you’ve got 100,000 people streaming into town and hanging out,” said Councilor Lee Busby, who represents this area as part of District 4.
Milligan said it could take up to two weeks to finalize the contract, but he would make the council’s wishes known.
“We’re going to push them to get it done as soon as possible,” Milligan said.
Tuscaloosa police spokeswoman Stephanie Taylor said the fencing of Evergreen Cemetery was damaged at about 11:20 a.m. on May 18 when a 52-year-old man driving a 2005 Nissan Quest struck a curb and hit the metal gate and brick column at the sidewalk entrance.
Taylor said the driver was taken to DCH Regional Medical Center, where blood was drawn due to the officers’ suspicions of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
No one has been charged in the collision, Taylor said.
“The case is still open and pending,” she said.
Similarly, no charges have been filed in the 2019 hit-and-run at Greenwood Cemetery, located across T.Y. Rogers Jr. Avenue from First African Baptist Church.
In November of that year, someone drove a pickup truck through Greenwood Cemetery, one of the city’s oldest cemeteries, leaving behind broken fences, damaged tombstones along with two headlights and a truck grill.
A road worker discovered the damage that appeared to be caused when someone drove a Dodge Ram from 28th Avenue through the Stillman Boulevard intersection and through the iron fence that surrounds the cemetery.
Gravestones and a small fence inside the cemetery were damaged, as well as part of the exterior fence along Stillman Boulevard behind Van Hoose and Steele Funeral Home.
One of the most damaged stones marked the grave of 2-year-old Louisa Fitts, who died Oct. 6, 1865.
The truck was a 2013-2016 Dodge Ram with heavy front-end damage, TPD said at the time.
Reach Jason Morton at email@example.com.