SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Improvements could possibly be coming to a historic African American cemetery in Springfield.

More than 1,200 people are laid to rest at the Lincoln Memorial Cemetery. City Council is currently considering awarding $100,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds for renovations to the site.

Those with family connections to the cemetery said the funding is necessary.

“We are really dedicated and motivated to have it be a beautiful place of rest for our ancestors and our relatives,” said Cheryl Clay, who is advocating for the money.

Clay is part of a board of volunteers that take on the job of maintaining the cemetery grounds.

“We rely strictly on donations,” said Clay. “We get no help other than that. When we took the cemetery over several years ago, it was totally neglected. It was overgrown.”

She said there’s still plenty of work that needs to be done to the cemetery.

It’s been hard to collect donations recently, Clay said, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have several headstones that need to be reset where they are,” said Clay. “They have fallen over.”

Clay said they hope to get the road paved to help with holding funerals when the ground is wet. City Council will vote on the funding come Nov. 14.

To read the full list of funding the council is considering, click here.