There is a new controversy with an old Tampa cemetery

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Marti-Colon Cemetery is where West Tampa families have buried their loved ones for decades.

Now, there is an effort to build a new cemetery for members of the Jewish faith, just south of the Marti-Colon Cemetery.

Neighbors on the south side of the cemetery are opposed to the project because the group that would like to build the cemetery is seeking to have a new and separate entrance on the south side of the property.

Aileen Henderson and others are concerned about building a new cemetery on the land for a different reason. They believe people are already buried on the property.

“We have one thousand, at least documented, unmarked graves from Marti-Colon and back in the day, Marti-Colon was 12 acres, not the 5.6 you see today,” Henderson said.

She is convinced many of the unmarked graves are located where there are plans to build the new cemetery.

“We have the documentation, we have community members who are saying, I know there are families buried there,” Henderson said.

Rabbi Mendy Dubrowski is part of the group trying to build the new cemetery. He said he only recently became aware there may already be people buried on the land.

“Burial is a very sacred thing and if there are graves there, they need to be recognized and acknowledged,” Dubrowski said.

Dubrowski said his group plans to have a study done with the ground penetrating radar to find out if there are or are not people buried there, and he hopes to have the results of the study completed before the issue comes before city council again.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to WFLA.