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Civic needs $100K for cemetery

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A Fresh Meadows community group that wants to preserve the site of a Colonial era graveyard has until May to raise $100,000 to buy the Brinckerhoff Cemetery under an agreement worked out in State Supreme Court.

State Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) recently told those involved in the preservation effort he has included a grant request for $10,000 in the state budget proposal for 2001.

The 45-by-120-foot vacant unfenced site on 182nd Street north of 73rd Avenue sits between two houses and contains 77 graves dating back to 1730. It is owned by the DeDomenico Estate, headed by Ralph DeDomenico who inherited the land from his father, Joseph, following his death in 1999.

The Queens Historical Society, the Fresh Meadows Civic Association and descendants of the Brinckerhoff family filed a joint lawsuit against the city and DeDomenico in June alleging the city had no right selling land it knew was a cemetery. The city acquired the property due to non-payment of taxes, but the plaintiffs contend this was illegal to begin with because cemeteries are tax-exempt.

When he purchased the lots at a city auction back in 1962, Joseph DeDomenico lived next door. His plans to build were blocked by the community and a Brinckerhoff descendant.

At a hearing before Justice Thomas Polizzi Feb. 1 in Jamaica, the plaintiffs asked that the sale of the lot to DeDomenico be nullified.

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