The remains of more than 200 people are housed inside this mausoleum at Woodlawn cemetery. But the building is in poor condition and in danger of possibly collapsing.
Elmira Mayor Sue Skidmore said, "It's been undermined by weather time, gravity and we have to take action."
The Elmira City Council voted Monday to accept the lowest offer to repair the old mausoleum, about $245,000 from Keuka Construction Corporation. Another option city council considered was completely tearing down the structure.
"To tear it down, we would have had to relocate all the bodies that were in there which would have been very, very expensive," said Elmira Councilman Joseph Duffy.
"There is no more bodies going in there, no more family contacts; it's a mess when you have to look at all the steps that you need to go through to contact families, move bodies out, find more space to bury a body," Skidmore said.
There were many questions surrounding the renovation project..including who should bare the responsibility of the repairs.
Skidmore added, "It was built by a private company way back in the 1920s and by the end of the 1920s and it was bankrupt and gone so there has been no ownership."
The mayor says by law, the city must now take over responsibility. She says money was set aside for the repairs more than a year ago
There's also separate funding for maintenance of the cemetery. Officials say work on the mausoleum can start as early as this fall.