Glenwood Cemetery is experiencing some financial challenges — but officials insist steps are being taken to ensure the cemetery never closes.
Mike Niethe, former Lockport Police Department police chief and the current Glenwood Cemetery superintendent, said the cemetery's income is down because of the nationwide increase in cremation, rather than traditional burials.
"Our income is way down and this is not something unique to this cemetery. People are not being buried in the ground like they used to be," Niethe said. "A majority of people are being cremated now. Our income has dropped off dramatically because of this nationwide trend."
Board President Dan Russell said they have a brand new board that is now meeting bi-weekly to ensure they find a way to fix the finances.
The board started fundraising about four weeks ago and was able to raise a "good chunk" of the money needed to pay the bills for now, Dan Russell said. Letters have been sent out to all the lot owners to see if they would like to donate.
Their fundraising efforts have a three-step approach, Pam Russell, a cemetery volunteer, said.
They are looking for strictly financial donations, consumable good donations and a donation of service or time. Pam Russell added that a consumable good might be something like a trailer, lawnmower equipment or office supplies.
"Anything that would be used to help in basically running the cemetery," she added.
They are working with the Grigg Lewis Foundation, the Kenan Foundation and the Gabbie Foundation to see what grants might be available, Russell added.
Glenwood Cemetery has some prominent figures buried in its grounds. Former New York Gov. Washington Hunt, Former Congressman Richard Crowley, William Kenan and Normal Sinclair, who founded what is known as First Niagara Bank, are all buried in the cemetery.
Despite the economic issues, Niethe said it was imprtant to stress that the, "doors to the cemetery are not going to be closing."
Those who would like to donate can also visit gofundme.com/f/glenwood-cemetery-memorial-fund or send a check to 325 Glenwood Avenue.
For more information, check out glenwoodlockport.com.