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'As long as they don't dig them up,' What will happen to gravesite located near proposed soccer fields?

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Posted at 7:00 PM, Jun 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-30 19:31:56-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The plans for 12 soccer fields on Lexington’s northside are moving forward. But after city officials gave initial approval to the Lexington Sporting Club’s proposal, a man reached out to LEX 18.

He had concerns development in that area could impact the site where his father has been buried for more than 20 years, on land between Newtown Pike and Russell Cave Road.

Scott Neely’s dad’s grave is concealed, in a patch of forest near Aspiration Drive. It’s unmarked and lies next to three other gravesites. They’ve all been there for decades, hidden by the woods and soybean fields around them.

“I’m kinda thinking a dozer is gonna get there and dig all these graves up before he knows what he's doing,” Neely said.

There are also six thoroughbred horses buried nearby. Neely tells us, that’s because there was once a horse farm on the property, as well as a mansion. His dad was married to the owner.

These days, Neely gets out to his father’s grave about once a month. He says he’s one of just a few people who know they’re here. That’s why he came to LEX 18, worried new construction could destroy the graves.

“Who can stop progress?” he said. “As long as they don’t dig up the graves, I’ll be tickled pink.”

So we reached out to Anderson Communities, who owns the land. The company’s owner Dennis Anderson told us the soccer fields won’t be anywhere close. He also said when it comes time to develop the area, they’ll treat the site with respect.

We passed along the news to Neely, who said he’s relieved to hear the graves will be left untouched for now. In fact, he doesn’t mind the development. He just wants to make sure hidden history isn’t left behind.

“As long as they don't dig them up, then I can get in here and keep them clean,” Neely said. “That would be a great help.”

A representative from the Fayette County government spoke with LEX 18. They let us know that the county attorney handles these types of issues. Kentucky State Law requires land developers to give access to family members to move graves. They also have to create access for the family to visit the gravesite in its existing location.