The Ogdensburgh Cemetery Association has begun the long process of restoring the citys historic cemetery grounds.
Fifty monuments adjoining Route 812 have been marked with orange tape for removal or repair. The cracked, dilapidated monuments are considered a danger to the public, Ogdensburgh Cemetery Association President Arthur C. Hastings said Monday.
These are not monuments that have tipped over, said Mr. Hastings. These are monuments that are pre-1900, and are in danger of tipping over. Their foundations have deteriorated. Frost has raised them up and down and tipped them over. There are a lot of stones we could be working on, but these are the most dangerous. Its a bigger problem when they are in this state.
The stones pose a threat to the cemetery maintenance crews and visitors. The Cemetery Association does have public liability, Mr. Hastings said.
The association has published a legal notice asking families of the deceased to assist in the repairs. Families have 60 days to respond. But Mr. Hastings said he does not envision many families will come forward.
Monuments are owned by the families that have loved ones buried there, he said. When you buy the lot in the cemetery, you buy the right to make an internment; you dont own the land, but you have the right to bury people there. You have a right to put a monument, but that monument is your responsibility. But these families are all dead and gone now. This is a real problem for cemeteries everywhere.
Following the 60-day period, the Cemetery Association will file an application with the state Department of State Division of Cemeteries in order to receive funding to repair the 50 stones. The estimated $25,000 project will be contracted out to a local construction crew, Mr. Hastings said.
This is a six-month project, he said. Restoration will probably begin in the summer. Once we finish this project, we were encouraged by the state cemetery department to apply for more money from this fund. But you can only work on one section at a time.
The following gravesites have been marked for repair: Northrop, Christiana/Stephens, Dillingham/Wright, Farnsworth, Kelly, Butler, Ranney, Baldwin, Wheelock, Ralph, Caswell/Plumsteel, Day, Bellinger, Purvis, Scott, McRoberts, Chapin, Miller, Lowry, Brown, Kellogg, Barney, Woods, Shannon, Durgan, Bloodough/ Scott, Mott, Armstrong, Cameron, Galbrath, Denny, Badlam, Christy, Orr, Dorgan, Haslers/ Wright, Robson, Gibson, Gravelle, Miller, and Hoag.
For more information, contact Mr. Hastings at 393-2605, Cemetery Association Vice President Glory P. Martel at 393-4436, or Board Member Betty J. Mallott at 393-7605.