Utility construction supplies stored at Uniondale cemetery disturb visitors

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UNIONDALE -

Visitors to the Greenfield Cemetery in Uniondale say portable toilets and construction trucks have been disrupting their trips to see buried loved ones for the last year.

There are also piles of dirt, spools of wire, telephone poles and other collections of construction equipment.

"I was told the town board had made a contract for PSEG to use this site," says Lori Brady, whose mother and two aunts are buried in the Hempstead-owned cemetery. "We have relatives from out of town, and I don't even want to bring them there, because I don't want them to see that is where my family is resting."

And Melissa Watts' infant son is buried there. So is her father-in-law. Both women say the trucks and equipment started showing up last summer.

"How did this happen, and why are they here?" Watts wants to know.

Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen says she inherited the issue and is trying to rectify it.

Documents from last August — before Gillen took office — show the Hempstead Town Board leased the land for three years to the Haugland Energy Group to use as a storage site for construction vehicles and equipment.

That's despite Hempstead's town code, which states that "no truck, cart or other commercial vehicle shall be permitted within the grounds of the cemetery."

The town board did not immediately respond to a News 12 request for comment.

"It was a little quick grab to bring some money into the Town of Hempstead at the expense of those who have loved ones in the cemetery," Gillen says.

Watts says she doesn't care about the politics — she just wants her son to rest in peace.

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