Potsdam’s largest cemetery falls on hard times

wwny Potsdam’s largest cemetery falls on hard times

POTSDAM, N.Y. (WWNY) - Bayside Cemetery is more than just a cemetery. It’s a park where people bike, fish and watch the water. It’s a monument to Potsdam’s past. It’s even a sort of tourist attraction.

“We are here to see the glorious front gate to Bayside Cemetery, made of Potsdam red sandstone in the red Ashlar style. It’s a glorious piece of architecture,” said Greg Nye Smith, ADK Bike Rally 2019 leader.

But Bayside Cemetery needs a little help. Cemetery president John Omohundro told the town board what kind of help they need.

“It’s mostly material. We need gravel, and we need topsoil and we need people to help us chainsaw up windstorm damage,” he said.

Burials at the cemetery are down. A growing number of people choosing cremation is one reason. Cemetery expenses outstrip income by about $10,000 a year.

“The main reasons to help for Bayside is because we are an enormous cemetery in the town. We are the biggest. We’re one of the few left that they haven’t already taken over,” said Omohundro.

Cemeteries that go out of business must be taken over by the town. Nobody wants this for Bayside. Town officials are looking into what can be done. So is the cemetery association.

The Bayside Cemetery Association would like to grow business here. A memorial garden, for cremated remains, is in the works. And they’re talking about getting into the business of green, environmentally-friendly burials.

More than 5,000 people are buried there. It has room for 2,000 more.

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