Rockland County gets funding improve, restore several abandoned cemeteries

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Friday, December 1, 2023
Rockland County moves to improve, restore several abandoned cemeteries
Marcus Solis has the latest on abandoned cemeteries in Rockland County.

NYACK, Rockland County (WABC) -- High View Cemetery in Nanuet, New York, is where some members of Rockland County's founding families are laid to rest but its condition, along with others like it, have drawn concern.

Between over century old headstones and weathered engraving, High View is considered an abandoned cemetery just like Nyack Rural Cemetery, which has been neglected for over 50 years.

"These were people that they're families found in the Revolutionary War," said Clarkstown Town Supervisor George Hoehmann. "These are people who helped established government."

Maintaining deteriorated cemeteries is a financial burden for municipalities, which under state law, are required to take over defunct locations that were once run by non-profits.

"Some still have fund and volunteers and folks that help upkeep," said Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski. "Others, their boards have died off, funds have been exhausted and they're just sort of sitting there abandoned."

New legislation from Zebrowski and Sen. Bill Weber is funding cemeteries weathered by time and vandalism to help revitalize the grounds.

This year, the legislature approved a request to overhaul three graveyards.

In Nanuet, the plan is to restore monuments, along with putting up signage and maps.

Restoration work in Nyack will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Besides improving access, the money could help pave the way for future burials, as a number of residents have indicated their desire to be laid to rest in existing family plots.

"Folks have bought plots and still have those plots and their family members are there," said Zebrowski. "So every once in a while, you'll see one of these cemeteries that haven't seen any burials in a long time, and you suddenly see a funeral procession pull up."

The work will take months - planned improvements that should last and inform generations to come.


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