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Town of Oswegatchie adds crematorium at mausoleum site

Town of Oswegatchie adds crematorium at mausoleum site

OSWEGATCHIE — A newly built crematorium has begun operations at the Foxwood Memorial Park just outside the Ogdensburg city limits, where town of Oswegatchie officials were forced to take ownership approximately two years ago when the mausoleum’s owner went out of business.The crematorium’s construction solves a town dilemma regarding how to pay for maintaining a once-private facility that elected officials in the community never intended to own.Under state law, a township is responsible for maintaining abandoned cemeteries and mausoleums. The abandonment of the Foxwood facility left the Oswegatchie Town Board scrambling to not only learn how to maintain the facility, and the remains interred there, but to find the financial resources to pay for it all.At the end of December, town officials opened a new crematorium at the site, built with money gleaned from operating proceeds from the mausoleum. Adding the crematorium was recommended by state officials as a way to bring needed cash flow to the facility for upkeep and future upgrades.Oswegatchie Town Supervisor Alfred Nichols said the facility began operations in late December, and since then four bodies have been cremated.The town has worked closely with the state during the past two years, and the construction of a crematorium was seen as crucial to be able to afford to maintain the mausoleum, according to Mr. Nichols. “For every cremation, a certain amount of money has to be set aside,” Mr. Nichols said. “The money is kept in a special fund and can’t be used for anything else.”Mr. Nichols said it has cost about $100,000 to build the crematorium. He said the next closest facility of its kind is in Theresa.He said the entire project — from taking over a mausoleum abandoned by a local businessman — to building and operating a crematorium, has been a learning experience.“Who dreamed we’d be doing something like this,” Mr. Nichols said.Town officials in Oswegatchie were forced to take over the mausoleum approximately two years ago after state officials seized the property when then-owner Richard C. Fox fell into financial difficulties.The indoor mausoleum, for bodies and cremated remains, was founded by Mr. Fox in 1983 and is on Route 37 on outer State Street, just outside the Ogdensburg city limits in the town of Oswegatchie.It costs the town between $40,000 and $50,000 to maintain the mausoleum, town officials said.The state Department of State’s Division of Cemeteries, under supervision of the state’s Cemetery Board, oversees the establishment, maintenance and preservation of burial grounds for all nonprofit cemeteries in New York, according to the agency’s website. State law requires local municipalities to take over and maintain cemeteries and mausoleums if they are abandoned.
Source: Watertown Daily Times Latest News
Town of Oswegatchie adds crematorium at mausoleum site

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