Residents gather to hear lawmakers solution for the Amigone crematorium

Tonawanda

TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) — A long-simmering neighborhood dispute over a Western New York crematory could be headed toward a resolution.

Homeowners on Werkley Road gathered to hear the solution State Senator Sean Ryan and Assemblyman Bill Conrad are offering to get the Sheridan Park Crematory out of their neighborhood.

“They don’t belong in our backyards, and I think everybody in this area would agree that, and in the community,” said Conrad.

Lines were drawn nine years ago when the State Attorney General filed suit and forced Amigone told to shut the crematory down. Improvements were made court orders were met and eventually the regulators allowed the Sheridan Park Crematory to re-open until last November when a thick black plume of smoke spewed from the Amigone’s chimney.

“I became involved in this issue when I was driving up Sheridan Drive with my daughter and I saw these thick black clouds of smoke and I said there is something seriously wrong here,” added Councilmember Shannon Patch of the Tonawanda Town Board.

The crematory was closed once again, Sheridan Park paid a fine, and was allowed to resume operations. In past negotiations, Amigone has asked to re-locate the crematory, but regulators would not allow it.

A state was passed prohibiting a joint funeral home-crematory operation and Sheridan Park was grandfathered in — but they were also stuck. Conrad and Ryan have introduced legislation that would waive Amigone’s prohibition.

“It would allow them to continue their operation while providing vital health and safety to the residents,” said Ryan.

“Is allow them to move to a more appropriate location so they can continue to do business, so they can continue to take care of grieving families in a location that makes sense,” said Patch.

Neighbors seem to be fine with that.

Resident Ron Labuda said, “We have a right to use our yards, the nice weather is going to start soon, and like I say we don’t want to smell something burning in an oven.”

Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here.

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