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Time could also be running out for residents in search of to dam the development of an overnight park for recreational vehicles (RVs) on land that will be the final resting place for a few of Wakulla County’s earliest settlers, including enslaved employees. The developer, Rusty Boyd, plans to construct a 171-space RV park with amenities akin to a pickleball court next to the Richardson Family Cemetery. Although permits have been obtained for the project, local residents have a while to lift funds for a ground penetrating radar survey of the land to find out if there are any unmarked graves. If evidence of burial plots is found, state law would prevent the project from moving forward. Nonetheless, Boyd will not be required to grant residents access to the location for the survey. This case highlights the continuing disputes which have arisen in Florida and other states when abandoned cemeteries, including slave burial grounds, are discovered. Florida recently passed laws to determine a Historic Cemeteries Program to discover, protect, and maintain these abandoned cemeteries, but challenges remain in funding and implementing this system. The residents are concerned that they may not give you the option to lift enough money for the survey before construction begins on the RV park. They’re in search of grants and support from state officials to conduct the survey and determine the cemetery’s boundaries. The uncertainty over whether the survey could be conducted without the landowner’s permission hinders efforts to locate and preserve historic burial grounds.

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