Amigone Plans to Reopen Controversial Crematory

12:34 AM, Jul 17, 2013   |    comments
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TOWN OF TONAWANDA, NY - Amigone Funeral Home is taking another crack at trying to re-open its controversial crematory.

This time, Amigone wants to move it only a few feet from its current location in the Town of Tonawanda.

However, many residents near Amigone have been outraged at the environmental hazards Amigone has caused the community -- residents like, Neal Hodgson, who lives in the Town of Tonawanda.

"No smells of bodies being burned, remains, nothing, it's been wonderful," Hodgson said, who would like to keep his neighborhood pleasant.

Word is spreading quickly among Hodgson's neighbors that Amigone wants to reopen its controversial crematory and that doesn't sit well with him.

"We've been suffering through their contamination, their particles, their heavy metals, their human ash in our neighborhoods for over 20 years," said Hodgson.

Amigone Funeral Home wants to move its crematory, which is shutdown to another part of its property at 2600 Sheridan Drive.

The proposed site would be at the corner of Parker Avenue and Sheridan, where there's currently a parking lot. But first, Amigone needs the approval from the Erie County Legislature to make the location "cemetery land."

Amigone asked Republican Legislator Kevin Hardwick if he'd lead the effort to get this done. Hardwick tells 2 On Your Side that he wouldn't present a resolution supportive of Amigone.

"I think it's going to be tough to relocate it just moving it across the parking lot, I just don't see the residents going along with that," he said.

A year ago, Amigone agreed to stop operating at the current location. Under the agreement, Amigone also agreed to give the State Attorney General's office two weeks notice before expressing interest that it wants to open. The state, at that time, could still pursue more legal action to prevent that. 

The agreement came after a public outcry that the operation was polluting the air and causing a terrible smell.

Amigone plans to restart its operation even if it doesn't get county legislature approval.

"I think I had a discussion this morning with their attorney and I think I made it quite plain, I didn't think it was a good idea to open up the crematory in its current location," Hardwick said.

Amigone is trying to get legislators to pass a resolution by Thursday that would allow the crematory to move. Thursday is a key day because after that, the legislature will be out of session until September.

Amigone did try to move the crematory to another location in an industrial zone, but this did not pass the town council because it was too close to residents.

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