Condemned sign posted on mausoleum at Laurens Co. cemetery, families want repairs

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LAURENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A condemned sign and caution tape now surrounds the mausoleum in the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Laurens. People with loved ones there said they hope this means change is finally here.

A quiet and tranquil resting place, at least that’s what David Owens and his wife thought so they reserved spots for their final resting place at Forest Lawn Cemetery.

“My wife don’t want to be buried in the ground, I don’t know why she don’t so I bought those two spots down there, seven and eight,” said David Owens, who has two plots reserved at Forest Lawn Cemetery in the mausoleum.

Inside its walls lies close friends who have passed away.

“There was a tarp over it but it blew off, cracks all over, damage all over,” Owens said.

Also in there, Owens said are cracks, leaks, water damage and a deteriorating roof.

October of 2020 was when 7 News originally reported on those same concerns. At that time, a spokesperson with the company that owns the cemetery said they were hoping to have the repairs done shortly.

But fast forward to now, Bess Caldwell said she is still looking at the same disheartening site that houses a handful of loved ones. There’s also a spot reserved there for another family member.

“They just told me a few minutes ago that if something were to happen to her, she’s 92, that they’re not going to let anyone be put in the mausoleums,” said Bess Caldwell who has family in the Forest Lawn Cemetery mausoleum.

That’s because its been condemned. Laurens County officials told 7 News, they have been working with the owners of the property to fix it. Now that they’ve condemned it, repairs will be needed soon.

But until then, people like Caldwell are stuck thinking of something they never imagined- finding another final resting place for their loved ones.

“This where they chose to be, this is what they paid for,” Caldwell told us.

A spokesperson with the company who owns it couldn’t say when this all will be repaired,. They did however send us the following information:

“I just checked in. The project is approved and fully funded and we have been searching for contractors who are qualified to do the job and also be able to source the appropriate materials. It sounds like we are getting different availability and working to get it all scheduled. With a project that costs this much, we want to do it right! I am happy to update you as we move along.”

“The project will cost well over $850k. I want our families to know that we are doing everything in our power to complete this project and make sure it’s done well with no shortcuts. We will continue to keep our families updated.”

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