City of Tampa to maintain Memorial Park Cemetery

Hillsborough County

Tampa, Fla. (WFLA) – The City of Tampa is working to prevent another cemetery from being ignored or forgotten.

The owner of Memorial Park Cemetery off 22nd Avenue in Tampa passed away and his relatives don’t want to run it.

So the city has stepped in to maintain it. They’ve also filed a lawsuit against the owner’s heirs, hoping to get them to share the cost of cleanup and to get the records of the people buried there.

Nestled among the headstones here at Memorial Park, generations of Carl Norton’s family. His father a dentist, his grandfather, a medical groundbreaker.

“We’ve got some very interesting history in this town. I mean incredibly interesting history and it’s all been lost, or being lost,” Norton said.

Also among those resting here is Richard C. Doby. He is the man who founded Dobyville, a now-defunct African-American community near Hyde Park. He ironically was one of the first land donors for the recently re-discovered African-American Zion Cemetery at Robles Park.

Zion is one of the reasons why memorial is getting more attention.

“The city will continue to provide maintenance activities there,” said Ocea Wynn of Neighborhood and Community Affairs for the City of Tampa.

Since the owner of the memorial died last summer and his heirs don’t want to be in the cemetery business, the city stepped in.

“It’s important for the city to maintain this cemetery because we trying desperately to prevent another Zion situation,” Wynn said.

The city has mowed Memorial Park three times, to the tune of about $15,000.

They are in litigation with the family of the deceased owner, not just for part of the money to maintain this cemetery, but for something equally as important… records of those buried here.

“The families that are buried there we owe them respect,” Wynn said. Something Carl Norton certainly agrees. “There’s a lot of hearts that are buried there,” Norton said. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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