Historic cemetery delays Huntersville road extension

Historic cemetery delays Huntersville road extension

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by KATIE KILLEN / NBC Charlotte Staff

WCNC.com

Posted on August 14, 2013 at 6:45 AM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 14 at 7:00 AM

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- A historic cemetery is stalling plans for a road extension in Huntersville.

Town officials want to extend Hambright Road as part of the bigger East field Road Small Area Project. 

However,  the Old Bethesda United Methodist Church Cemetery is very close to part of that extension. 

The cemetery is in a wooded area and dates back nearly 200 years.  According to Comprehensive Genealogical Services, based in Charlotte, slaves and some their owners are buried in the cemetery. 

However, according to tradition at the at that time, most of the slaves don't have headstones, so it's hard to know exactly where the graves are located.  

According to Iris Chandler with Genealogical Services, the cemetery is an important part of area history. 

"Always when you stand there, you begin to think back.  You think of the people, that at some point, were standing in the same place you were," she said. 

Chandler want Huntersville to place the alignment as far away as possible from the cemetery.  Transportation officials are working on the move. However, Transportation Planner Bill Cox says it's a balancing act. 

"What are the impacts on the human and the natural environment for doing so?" he asked. 

Cox said, if planners move the alignment too far, more homes will need to be torn down to provide for the extension. 

At this point, Huntersville is planning a more formal survey of the cemetery, so they can say exactly how far any alignment would be from the graves. 

Eventually the plan will need to be approved by Huntersville town commissioners. 

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