A state legislative grant of $50,000 will enable the City of North Tonawanda’s Cemetery Board to undertake planned improvements at the Col. John Sweeney Rural Cemetery, Assemblyman Robin Schimminger announced today.
“City Historian Daniel Bille and Cemetery Board Member Walter Yaro contacted me to outline plans being envisioned for restoring the Sweeney Cemetery, and I’m glad I could be of help in preserving this important part of North Tonawanda’s rich heritage, which dates to the city’s earliest days,” Schimminger said.
Schimminger explained that the state funds he is committing to the cemetery restoration will be used to erect over 1,600 feet of new fencing to replace the rusting and damaged fence installed several decades ago. “This project will help to improve the appearance of the cemetery and its environs, while providing a boost to the restoration efforts being undertaken by the city’s Cemetery Board and many dedicated volunteers,” he said.
“The North Tonawanda Cemetery Board would like to express our appreciation to Assemblyman Schimminger for his concern and assistance in obtaining funds for the historic Sweeney Cemetery,” said Walter Yaro, board member.
“The Sweeney Cemetery Project has been an excellent opportunity for us to give something back to our community. The effort, supported by Mayor David Burgio, the Public Works Department and the Parks Department, is beginning to show positive results,” added board member Linda Krempa.
City Historian Daniel Bille said, “The North Tonawanda Cemetery Board would like to thank Assemblyman Schimminger for his efforts in providing state funds for this element of needed improvements at the Sweeney Cemetery.”
Other long-term work planned for the Sweeney Cemetery will involve repairing deteriorated headstones and grave markers, installing a plaque with the names of area veterans interred in the cemetery, and reconstructing the former grave tenders’ building for use as an information center.
“I am, of course, very happy to be able to provide this state funding to North Tonawanda and help the city with this beneficial historic preservation project,” concluded Schimminger.