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Chinatown Senior Center Buys Ossining Burial Plots

OSSINING, N.Y. – After making a second bulk sale of 400 burial plots to a senior center in Manhattan's Chinatown, Dale Cemetery is operating at a profit for the first time in over six years, town Supervisor Catherina Borgia said on Wednesday.

"We are very excited to have this historic jewel in Ossining," Borgia said at a press conference at Dale Cemetery's office on Havell Street. "With this second bulk sale, we can help pay back some of the operating deficits from previous years."

Dale Cemetery was previously owned and operated by Dale Cemetery Association. In 2004, it was taken over by the town of Ossining because state law mandates that if a privately-owned cemetery is about to go bankrupt, it must be taken over by the town.

With the sale of 400 burial plots to On Hong Senior Center in Manhattan last year, and the sale of another 400 plots to the senior center this year, the cemetery expects to have $140,000 in surplus funds, Borgia said.

If a third sale of 400 burial plots goes through as expected next year, the cemetery will have $200,000 over expenses, Borgia said.

Each grave site costs $1,500, said George Weeks, Dale Cemetery's manager, so in total, the sale of 1,200 plots to the Chinese senior center is expected to bring in $1.8 million.

"The Asian community is always looking around all over Westchester for any burial sites that they can get to within an hour from Chinatown," Weeks said. "They like hills, and they like to be facing east or south east. They like to be near water and to look across and see homes and another mountain. The section (they bought) fits all the requirements."

The Asian burial plots make up about three to three and a half acres out of the 37 acres of Dale Cemetery, Weeks said.

There are currently more than 12,000 people buried in Dale Cemetery, Weeks said. After the expected sale of 1,200 plots to the On Hong Senior Center, there will be about 1,500 burial sites left to sell.

Once all burial plots are sold, it will be more difficult for the cemetery to make a profit, said Dale Cemetery's office manager Barbara Hadjstylianos.

"We'll still have income from interments, funerals and cremations," she said, but there will be less money to be made.

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