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North Hempstead moves ahead to restore Allen cemetery

Howard Kroplick, North Hempstead town historian, walks by

Howard Kroplick, North Hempstead town historian, walks by one of the headstones of the Allen family. The company GeoModel was hired to use below-ground radar to locate the remains of half a dozen members of the Allen family, a founding family of the area. The remains are buried in a tiny forgotten family cemetery in a residential backyard in Great Neck Plaza. (July 15, 2013) (Credit: Jeffrey Basinger)

The North Hempstead Town Board voted on Thursday to hire a surveying firm and a title company as part of its efforts to restore a little-known family burial ground in Great Neck Plaza.

The town hired Mineola-based Sidney B. Bowne and Son to conduct surveys of the Allen family burial ground, adjacent to two residential backyards on Pearce Place in the village, as well as surveys of the three surrounding lots. The town will pay no more than $5,500 for the survey, $600 each for updates to two lots, and $400 for an update on one lot, and will receive one update for free.

The town also agreed to pay $3,000 to Advantage Title Agency for a title search on the properties.

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The tiny burial ground holds the remains of six members of the Allen family, who were prominent landowners on the Great Neck peninsula, and an infant from another family. The seven were buried there between 1810 and 1861. The cemetery was in disrepair, with unrelated items stored on it and the headstones moved, until town historian Howard Kroplick began a campaign last year to restore it.

The town is working with the village and the Great Neck Historical Society on the matter, as well as members of the Allen family.

Last week, an underground radar survey determined the exact burial locations of the six members of the Allen family.

“We’re working very closely with the village of Great Neck Plaza and hope to have that cemetery fixed and restored very soon,” town clerk Leslie Gross said at the meeting. Her office provided the funding for the survey.

Once the survey work is done, the process of restoring the headstones and footstones, fencing off the property and creating signage can begin, Kroplick said last week.

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