- Associated Press - Sunday, October 30, 2016

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) - Land comes at a premium in the narrow, low-lying Florida Keys, but there’s one area where space is surprisingly still available: the Key West Cemetery.

The city-owned cemetery established in 1847 is the final resting place for an estimated 70,000 to 100,000 souls. When two nearby houses were torn down in 2008 to make room for more mausoleums, officials said the 19-acre cemetery was running out of room.

Local residents have been relieved to learn they still have a chance to spend eternity there. The Citizen reports (https://bit.ly/2f1qcrr ) that dozens of people responded to recent ads placed by an Orlando man selling two plots in the cemetery.

Dave Cholak purchased the plots when he owned a second home in Key West. After selling that property, he decided he wouldn’t need the future burial sites and put them up for sale.

Compared to most real estate in the Keys, plots are reasonably priced: $12,000 to $17,000, depending on the location within the cemetery in Key West’s Old Town.

Each plot is individually owned, and the owners pay no taxes or maintenance fees for them, said Diane Silvia, a historian with the Historic Florida Keys Foundation.

When plots aren’t needed, the owners privately negotiate and transfer the property deeds to buyers.

Attorney Darren Horan said his family ended up with too much burial space after finding deeds for property his grandfather bought in the 1960s.

“Then when we learned the city allows families to bury five people per plot, two underground and three above, we ended up with way more plots than our family needs,” Horan said.

The area that Horan’s family currently owns includes 51 plots, which could house 255 souls.

“For most families, especially those who don’t have several generations in town, one or two plots would be sufficient,” he said.

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Information from: The Key West (Fla.) Citizen, https://www.keysnews.com

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