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Luxury burial comes to boro

Named after St. Joseph, the structure will be built near the intersection of 49th Drive and the Grand Central Parkway service road. It is the first of three mausoleums planned for that corner of the cemetery."We're exceedingly proud," said Ed Horn, the cemetery director. "This is going to be our 10th community mausoleum. It's interesting to us to walk from our first to our latest, because each one shows a continuing evolution."It will feature stained glass, marble hallways, candle stands and a central tower reminiscent of renowned chapels from around the world, Horn said.He said private rooms will be available, paneled with the marble, granite and stained glass of the client's choice. Altogether there will be 2,700 units.Construction on the mausoleum is slated to start in three months with a completion date in mid-2009. Horn said the building should take about five years to reach capacity.After that, he said, the cemetery plans to build another four or five mausoleums in succession."That should keep us set for the next 20 to 30 years," he said.Community mausoleums are a relatively recent development, said Robert Fells, external chief operating officer of the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association in Virginia."They were developed 30 or 40 years ago to answer the needs of people who liked the idea of above-ground entombment but weren't wealthy enough for a private family mausoleum," he said.Horn said mausoleums offer benefits like protection from the elements, climate control, and a clear pathway for family members to use."It gives you a lot better feel about it," he said. "My children refuse to go out and visit their grandparents because they find it upsetting to step on ground where someone is buried."These days private mausoleums are also enjoying a resurgence in popularity, Fells said."Part of it is that modern construction techniques have been able to bring the cost down," he said. But personal attitudes toward memorializing are also changing, he noted."They say the baby boomers don't want to be forgotten," he said.Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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