Forest Hills Cemetery Closed Gap in Fence in Response to Near Overdose
The opening, just off the Bethel AME Church parking lot, was much used by dog walkers, walkers, teenagers and, apparently, drug users.
Forest Hills Cemetery officials closed an "unauthorized entrance" after someone almost overdosed within the cemetery's wooded areas.
Until this week, there had for years been a gap in the cemetery's wrought iron fence at the parking lot of Bethel AME Church, near Parkman Park. The gap was heavily used by dog walkers but also taken advantage of by partiers or drug users.
Two summers ago, a fire was set in the section of the cemetery just by the gap.
It was the near-death of a drug user that prompted the cemetery to shut the gap, said Janice Stetz, office manager for the historic cemetery. That overdose was near the Tower Street gate.
She said visitors from Forest Hills neighborhood will have to use the authorized entrances on Tower and Walk Hill streets.
"We welcome dog walkers and visitors to the cemetery by using our authorized entrances," she said.
She said dog walkers play a positive role at the cemetery, with the caveat that they must pick up after their pets.
"We do count on dog walkers who use authorized entrances to put an extra set of eyes on the property," said Stetz.
Further, she said fears about a lack of fire truck access to the area are unfounded, because an access road and small roundabout are nearby.
[Editor's note: The location of the overdose was added after initial posting of this story.]