Updated 03/21/2013 07:10 PM
Work begins on aged mausoleum
A place to mourn loved ones is in dire need of repairs. City of Elmira lawmakers have been talking about what to do with the mausoleum at the Woodlawn Cemetery for a while now. But as YNN's Katie Husband tells us, they're finally moving forward with a plan, but not everyone is on board.
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ELMIRA, N.Y. -- The parcel of land the mausoleum sits on isn't owned by the City of Elmira like the rest of Woodlawn Cemetery is.
"The mausoleum was built way back in the 1920s. It's a privately owned mausoleum. The company has now defunct," said Sue Skidmore, Elmira, mayor.
Since the structure has no owner, by default, it's in the hands of the city to maintain it.
"This is not a new issue. We've talked for a long time, you know, about the city's responsibility here and in the end, who is responsible of taking care of the cemetery," said Dan Royle, City of Elmira councilman.
But lawmakers are addressing it now because work needs to be done on it as soon as possible.
"The building is in dire condition, so there's a lot of things that have to occur for us to repair this building," said Skidmore.
The city has hired and engineering firm to conduct a study on the scope of design for any potential work. That study has a price tag of more than $26,000. That money is coming out of the city's pocket, which some feel is not the right way to fund the project.
"I believe we should just do the due diligence to see if the charter can be revised that will allow for the perpetual fund that is pretty significant that has been raised over the years there used to do repairs. I think we have a responsibility to the taxpayers that we at least take that due diligence," said Royle.
The perpetual fund is money that has been saved up specifically for cemetery maintenance.
"It would be good to know that if we could change the charter and it could be used that would recoup some of that money for the taxpayers after we go through and do what we feel is necessary to fix the mausoleum," said Royle.
City lawmakers say completely rebuilding the mausoleum will cost as much as $250,000. So officials are hoping to find funding alternatives.