AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The push to bring a veteran state cemetery to Augusta is gaining support. This week, cemetery advocates went before Augusta commissioners to give them an update.
The state department of Veteran Affairs is endorsing the project but there’s still a long way to go.
Cemetery organizers have met with state delegation and they plan to push forward in the legislature a joint resolution of support. Representative Brian Prince is leading that.
The plan is to have the initial appropriation of funds for the veteran cemetery collected through the legislature. The government will put up 10% of construction then be reimbursed on the back end. Cemetery organizers also need to get a grant from the VA and that can take a while.
Don Clark with Forces United is one of the cemetery organizers. He told us the maintenance of the cemetery would cost the state about $450,000 to $515,000 a year.
Right now, a piece of property for the cemetery is being hunted.
Former Augusta Mayor and veteran cemetery organizer Bob Young said, “Recent weeks we have engaged the services of a company here in Augusta that has already participated in building two state cemeteries in Georgia. We got some expertise now to really guide us through the process and help us understand what some of the limits are and what some of the opportunities are.”
Young continued, “Ideally, it would be great to get property donated so there’s no cash outlay because the state is not going to pay for the property. If it has to be paid for, Augusta-Richmond County will have to come up with that as host or some benevolent citizen or organization or company would put forward the property and donate it.”
Cemetery organizers are looking at properties in Hephzibah, areas around Fort Gordon and many others. Mayor Hardie Davis recommended the Gracewood area. Cemetery organizers plan to meet with Governor Brian Kemp this year to gain his support.