HOUSTON (KTRK) — Alief was once a thriving farming community, now it’s one more Houston suburb that’s overshadowed by development.

The one symbol of its 19th century pioneer past was the Alief Cemetery, with lives that bridged the 1800’s and 1900’s. Even that was littered with trash and high grass.

Volunteers did what they could over the years. One man mowed it a bit at a time, day by day. A Boy Scout troop and students helped out, but more consistent attention was needed.

State law allows counties to maintain historic cemeteries without perpetual care. Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack decided Alief Cemetery qualified. On Tuesday, the county assumed maintenance for the site.

Jail inmates trimmed grass by graves. Precinct workers mowed. The inmate labor is free. The only cost to the precinct is fuel to transport people and equipment. A fence will also be installed.

It’s the third cemetery project Precinct 3 has adopted. Radack sees it as creating a community asset which can serve as a park-like setting for neighbors.

Alief Cemetery has its share of ghost stories. Alief Association President Marie Lee says now, “They’ll have a better place to haunt.”