“Here’s your opportunity to get out from under,” was State Sen. Tony Avella’s (D-Fresh Meadows) message to Linda’s Cai Trading, the current owner of Brinckerhoff Cemetery, which served as a private cemetery for one of the original Dutch families who settled in Fresh Meadows.
Avella announced a $180,000 grant to the non-profit Friends of Brinckerhoff Cemetery on Tuesday, so that the group could buy the neglected property for an offering price of $150,000 and use the remaining $30,000 for legal fees and other expenses the group has incurred.
Linda’s Cai Trading bought the old burial grounds with the hopes of developing it, Avella’s office said, but the site’s status as a landmark prevented the company from being able to do anything profitable with the site.
Instead, the old burial has atrophied. Members of Friends of Brinckerhoff Cemetery say they have to contend with weeds, a broken fence, and illegal dumping on the site.
Avella said he first approached Cai about buying the site about a year ago, but as they were getting close to a deal, the company pulled back. He believes that the owner reacted to misleading reports saying that there was $450,000 allocated to the cemetery, leading her to believe that she could get a higher figure than $150,000.
But Avella affirmed that was not the case, stressing that he had communicated with Borough President Melinda Katz on the matter.
“We’re not going to waste taxpayer money,” he said.