Airport expansion threatens grave sites

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Albany International Airport says they want to expand, but the idea may end up disturbing some old ghosts, or bones to be more precise.

“Here it is right here.”

The remains of a forgotten cemetery. It’s the only evidence that there was ever a graveyard here.

It’s the remains of a crypt for an old cemetery full of unmarked graves.

“They were found in the river, died alone, murder victims. All races, all ages, they’re all there.”

Colonie Town Historian Kevin Franklin says he’s heard as many as 1,600 of Albany County’s loneliest and poorest residents were buried at this site during the 1920’s to the 40’s.

“I do periodically get calls from people who have traced their loved one to that site,” Franklin said.

The land sits behind the Albany County Ice Rink. Its neighbor, the Albany International Airport, wants to purchase the county-owned rink and property in order to expand parking.

There’s one major hold up, the cemetery.

The Airport Authority said in a statement:

“Additional due diligence will be required to determine the total number and location of burial plots on the property and their impact on future Airport growth and operations.”

“I think the first thing we need to do is determine who’s there how many are there,” Conners said.

Conners says cost is another consideration.

The airport authority says the property was recently appraised at just over $2.4 million, and they would be willing to pay a little over $2.6 million.

“When you think about it, 11 acres, $2.6 is very little.”

Any decision is a long way off.

For the residents of the cemetery, they’ll continue their eternal rest along the runway, at least for now.

No decision has been made.

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