SHAMOKIN -- The Shamokin Cemetery has been in need of help for a while, so earlier this year came a possible solution: allow a cell phone tower to be built on the property and collect money to care for the cemetery.
The promise was that no graves would be disturbed, but now, some are questioning if that promise has already been broken.
The cell phone tower is expected to generate at least $900 a month to improve the condition of the cemetery.
While crews have already begun the process of building the tower, people in Shamokin say they have seen no improvement to the cemetery. In fact, they have seen the opposite.
Tilted tombstones at the Shamokin Cemetery, overgrown grass, and even a buried veteran's marker are just some of the things sparking concern that a cell phone tower project could be damaging graves here.
"Now we have what was not supposed to be disturbed, disturbed. Now I am disturbed and there are some other people in town that are disturbed. It's kind of a disgraceful act," said Thomas Ward of Shamokin.
The new cell tower being built at the back of the cemetery is supposed to generate money to fix up the cemetery. So far, that has not been seen. People like Ward say they have seen is crews creating a path leading up to the tower. There are rocks and rubble from the work being done falling onto tombstones nearby.
Now, some even question if crews built right over actual graves.
"To do this to what are possible grave sites is unacceptable," said Ward.
The mayor of Shamokin is also the president of the cemetery. He is adamant none of the graves have been disturbed. He also promises all of the rubble will be cleaned up.
"This is all going to be cut down. This is all going to be repaired and landscaped," said Shamokin Mayor Bill Millbrand.
Millbrand says once the cell phone tower is put up, people will notice improvements to the cemetery.
To ease anyone's concern about the tower work, the mayor also says a historical preservation group will come in with a machine to make sure the path wasn't built over graves.
"It's going to go over the top of all of the area that this roadway was built in, and it’s sort of like a seismograph or something and can determine if there is anything underneath the ground where the roadway was built," Millbrand added.
The cell phone tower is expected to be built by spring of next year.
That special machine to check if the path was built over graves should be coming to the cemetery in the next few weeks.
The mayors says the project won't proceed until that is done.