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Gov. Robert Bentley urges Carver Memorial Gardens bankruptcy trustee to continue burials, offers to help raise money for repairs
George Washington Carver Memorial Gardens cemetery in Jefferson County closed in September, and Gov. Robert Bentley sent a letter Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013, to the trustee in the cemetery's bankruptcy urging him to ask the court to let the cemetery resume some operations. (Frank Couch/al.com/fcouch@al.com)

-- Gov. Robert Bentley Thursday sent a letter to the trustee in the Chapter 7 bankruptcy of a Jefferson County cemetery, urging that people who have purchased plots be allowed to bury and visit their loved ones.

The governor also urged Rocco J. Leo, the trustee, to ask the court to allow his office to help raise money to repair fences and gates at George Washington Carver Memorial Gardens cemetery on Minor Parkway.

"This is an issue of serious concern to those persons whose loved ones are buried or own burial plots at the Cemetery," Bentley said in the letter.

Bentley's letter comes after he met with pastors, citizens and lawmakers from Jefferson County, including state Reps. Juandalynn Givan, D-Birmingham, and Rod Scott, D-Fairfield, Nov. 1.

"The letter reflects Governor Bentley's commitment to helping in any way possible," Bentley spokesman Jeremy King said.

Bentley is seeking to raise money for maintenance of the fencing and gates in order to keep grave markers from being stolen, the letter says. This fundraising effort is separate from that of Givan, Scott, pastors and the NAACP, in which they hope to raise money for continued maintenance of the cemetery as the bankruptcy continues, Givan said.

That fund will be set up through the NAACP and will pay for the grass to be cut and cleared and other maintenance.

A hearing of creditors in the bankruptcy 10 a.m. Friday at the Robert S. Vance Federal Building in downtown Birmingham.

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