AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Efforts to build a veterans cemetery in Augusta are gaining a lot and some much-needed momentum. More than $1 million is secured in Georgia’s budget to build the state’s third veterans cemetery in the Garden City but there is still work to do.
“We are going to get our veterans cemetery right here in the CSRA,” announced cemetery sponsor and veteran Don Clark.
State Senator Max Burns said, “It’s a beautiful day in Augusta. It’s a beautiful day in the CSRA and it’s a great day for our veterans.”
Despite political differences, CSRA delegates say a local veterans cemetery is something they’re all behind.
“We are looking at, you know, economic development for the whole city,” said State Representative Gloria Frazier.
State Senator Harold Jones II explained, “There was no disagreement. We were totally 100% on the same page. No matter what argument may of taken place that day when Don called or Bob called and we started talking about his issue, it took precedence.”
The one million-plus dollars will fund the application process with the Veterans Administration.
“The state has boldly and proudly shown that they want a cemetery in this area,” affirmed Clark.
Congressman Rick Allen said, “Next it goes to the federal level but certainly we got to get our colleagues in Washington behind this. We’re going to make this happens.”
Right now state-owned property behind the East Central Regional Hospital at Gracewood may serve as the veteran cemetery site.
“This in no way will interfere with the operations of that hospital. This will no way displace anyone,” said Clark.
Developers estimate the project will cost about $10 million.
“The initial phase will probably only encompass only about 15 acres of that and then every 10 years the intent as the need is presented, a new expansion of the cemetery,” said Rob Mauldin, Principal Architect and CFO at 2KM Architects, Inc.
Commissioner of Veterans Services Mike Roby added, “We have a lot of work ahead of us but we’re excited and proud to bring the well-needed and deserved cemetery to veterans and families in Augusta.”
Former Augusta Mayor Bob Young has also been working very hard on the veteran cemetery project. He says securing funds in the state budget is a huge win for the CSRA and anybody who qualifies could be buried at it.
The cemetery will not be built for another five or so years but continue to stick with NewsChannel 6 for any further developments.