Brookhaven Town Officials Tour Historic Brookhaven and South Haven Burying Grounds
After the successful restoration of the historic Rose Family Cemetery on Jared's Path during 2008, the Fire Place History Club and the Brookhaven Village Association are working to restore and conserve three additional historic cemeteries in the Hamlets of Brookhaven and South Haven -- the Azel Hawkins Cemetery on Stillwood Road, the Old South Haven Church Cemetery in South Haven, and the Carman-Miller Family Cemetery, also in South Haven. Funds for this work are being provided by a Caithness Grant from the Town of Brookhaven and community contributions through the Brookhaven Village Association Cemetery Fund.
For this work to have a sustaining success, routine grounds maintenance of these cemeteries, as well as other burying grounds in the two hamlets, needs to be conducted by the Town of Brookhaven as required by New York State law. Accept for two highly visible cemeteries in Brookhaven Hamlet, this work has not been conducted in the recent past. After some three years of efforts to obtain Town compliance, a group of citizens in Brookhaven Hamlet have notified the Town that they will file an article 78 action at the end of June against the Town to force their compliance with the law. An article 78 action is a procedure under New York State Law which allows citizens to sue a Town for compliance with State law.
On Wednesday, June 3, 2009, members of the Fire Place History Club conducted a tour of historic cemeteries in the two hamlets for Carol Bissonette, Deputy Commissioner, Town of Brookhaven Parks Department. In addition to the three cemeteries scheduled for restoration and conservation this year, the group also visited other cemeteries as examples of sites in need of routine grounds care -- the Miller and Corwin family cemeteries in Brookhaven, and the David Hawkins Cemetery in South Haven/Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge.
In general, we were well pleased with the interest Ms. Bissonette expressed in conserving these historical assets and the commitments she made on behalf of the Town Parks Department to maintain the cemeteries. The proof, of course, is in the pudding.