2009-05-21 / Top Stories

Canarsie Cemetery On The Block To Non-Profit Agencies

The century-old Canarsie Cemetery is once again up for sale, according to city officials who this week invited qualified non-profit agencies to purchase the property.

The City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) issued the proposal after receiving input from a community panel, including City Councilman Lew Fidler, whose council district includes the cemetery; former Assemblyman Frank Seddio; Neal Duncan, president of the United Canarsie South Civic Association; and Ira Kluger, copresident of the Canarsie Historical Society, to determine the future of the site.

Information for the Request for Proposals, to be issued to non-profit agencies, includes conditions on the sale to ensure that the 13-acre site remains a burial ground and that future structures added to the area are no higher than 20 feet, in keeping with the character of the surrounding neighborhood.

DCAS Commissioner Martha Hirst said, "It has long been recognized that everyone's interests would be best served by transferring the cemetery to a non-profit operator. I'm glad that we're addressing the community's concerns so that this historical burial ground will be maintained for future generations."

State legislation, approved in 1998, authorizes the sale of the property subject to certain conditions and oversight. Any sale must be approved by the Mayor, City Council, the New York State Cemetery Board and a State Supreme Court judge.

The terms indicate that proposers must agree to maintain the site as "a non-sectarian burial ground for persons of all races, faiths and ethnic origins."

Notable figures interred at the cemetery include John Cashmore, who served as Brooklyn Borough President from 1940 to 1961 and John H. Nolan, a Civil War veteran known as the Union Army's "Little Drummer Boy" in the battle of Cedar Creek.

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