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Questions loom as Seneca works to get Sampson recognized by NYS

Will Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Romulus be the first state-run veterans cemetery in New York?

That’s the question local officials are grappling with, as they look at a future that either includes state and federal funding – or is purely operated out of Seneca County’s pocket.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in 2019 that New York State would join the long-list of those around the U.S. who have official state-run cemeteries for veterans.

In response, the Seneca County Board of Supervisors created a committee, led by County Manager Mitch Rowe. “We’re ready, we’re here,” Rowe told WHEC-TV.

At a meeting in late-2019, Rowe said that he felt good about the progress that the committee was making. Approximately 700 veterans and their families are buried on the site. There’s room for a lot of growth at Sampson, and it’s a testament to the prominence of the cemetery locally.

Former Senator Mike Nozzolio, who represented the 54th District for nearly three decades secured a total of $3.3 million in state funding for the site.

Lawmakers like Assemblyman Phil Palmesano and Senator Pam Helming, both believe Sampson should be the state’s first official cemetery for veterans.

The funding question is the big one moving forward. If not selected as the state’s site in this round – the County will be responsible for maintaining it beyond 2021.

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