Three hundred feet away from the entrance they stood, hoping that the almost 200 strong crowd would send a message. A message that it was time to be heard.
Residents of Mt. Greenwood, Morgan Park, Beverly and surrounding communities staged a march and silent protest on Saturday to bring attention to an issue they say is only getting worse.
For the past several years unruly funeral processions, some of which are gang-related, have been driving without regard for the area residents as they line drives into and ways from Mt. Hope Cemetery, 11500 S. Fairfield Avenue.
"There is a way that you can be respectful when you bury someone and it doesn't mean that at the close of the funeral all hell breaks loose on the street," said Barbara Hogan, a resident of Morgan Park.
It appears some level of movement might be happening.
Ald. Matt O'Shea and several other elected officials and law enforcement leaders met with the cemetery's owners just over a week ago in what O'Shea described as the "most successful meeting to date."
The Troost family, owners of the cemetery, have agreed to add a second entrance on 119th Street to relieve some of the traffic coming into the 115th Street one. The cemetery was described by State Sen. Ed Maloney as the busiest one in all of Illinois for the past few years.
O'Shea dubbed it the "cemetery of choice for the Chicago metro area gang member."
The city's legal department is reviewing language in the agreement reached with the cemetery's owners that would also see more off-duty police officers used to keep the peace.
These are developments that can't come soon enough for participants in Saturday's march. However, they say the solution might require more than just another entrance.
Carol Witt lives close to the cemetery and has seen first-hand the danger some processions pose.
"It's getting progressively worse," Witt said. "This is not just about the cemetery this is a danger to anybody driving between the funeral home and the cemetery."
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