It could be the script of the movie Poltergeist: an old cemetery, some works to build a paddle tennis court on top and a neighbor who ensures that her great-grandparents still remain there.
Tírig is a Castellón municipality in the Alt Maestrat region of just 420 inhabitants. The town has an area called Parc de la Raboseta with half a thousand trees, lawns and swings for the kids. The council, governed by the popular Juan José Carreres for 14 years, has begun construction work on a paddle tennis court in the area of the park that still remained undeveloped.
“In 2014, the cemetery was officially closed with all the permits, it was published so that any neighbor could take the remains and all the remains that could be found were taken to a common grave,” says Mayor Juanjo Carreres.
The old cemetery, which housed the dead of Tírig until 1920, remained surrounded by walls and with the door boarded up. “That was a rubble dump, there was even a buried car, it was full of rats and snakes, all 25 or 30 meters from the town,” recalls the mayor. With a budget of almost 40,000 euros, the area will become a paddle tennis court.
A local neighbor, who prefers not to be identified, is outraged. The remains of his great-grandparents, he says, rest there and will now play paddle tennis on top of their loved ones. “It is a lack of respect for the dead,” says the woman, very affected. “It makes my hair stand on end, you have to have a bit of education because it is a lack of respect for the dead,” adds the neighbor.
The woman does not understand why the city council has decided to build the paddle tennis court precisely in that place and insists that the Consistory has some land near the sports center. “It’s like they wanted to provoke,” she declared indignantly. “There is another lady in our street who has her sister buried there, all of us have a relative buried there,” the woman adds.
The mayor defends that the complaints may be due to “ignorance” since, he assures, the council took the remains to the new cemetery. “A deadline was given for the people to plead and, in fact, none have come to the City Council,” Carreres explains. The future paddle tennis court, still under construction, is located in the Parc de la Raboseta, an area where local children play.
The socialist spokesman in Tírig, Avel·lí Roca, considers that this is a “tremendous offense to the ancestors.” “Making a paddle tennis court where they are buried, it cannot be more offensive,” says Roca, who adds: “It is gloomy, macabre and incredible.”
The neighbor assures that, during the works, they have emerged “a skull and a femur”. “There are skulls where children play,” exclaims the woman. “Putting a paddle tennis court over the dead of the people is very strong,” concludes the socialist spokesman.