AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Thursday, the Georgia House Appropriations Committee voted in support of the state’s $27 billion budget for 2022. This means more money may be coming for schools but there are no funds set aside for a veterans cemetery in Richmond County.
“This is a community effort. We’ve got tons of people behind us working and supporting us,” said cemetery sponsor Bob Young.
With no funds being in the budget on the Georgia House side, Richmond County veteran cemetery advocates are now hoping state senators will include funds in their budget proposal.
Don Clark explained, “We’re waiting on getting a response back from our state senators of course to see what their crack at trying to get it in the budget will be or what it’s going to yield.”
“We’re actually planning for a cemetery that won’t be in operation for 5 or years by getting started with some planning seed money today,” said Young.
Those funds would be used to send an application to the veterans administration for a grant.
Young said, “And then it’ll sit with the VA for a couple of years until we get in line to get into the grant program. Then we design it. Put out a contract for it and then the thing is constructed.
The idea is to have the state build the cemetery then the VA would reimburse the state under the VA grant program.
“It’s not just ‘hey just throw a million dollars at it and there it is.’ But to get this process started, they want to have that buy in from the state,” said Clark.
The plan is to build the veterans cemetery at Gracewood off of Tobacco Road behind the East Central Georgia Hospital. The hospital would not be affected by construction.
As he walked around the property, Young described, “This is the type of topography you want, a gentle slopping land where you can easily do burials, and this slopes down to a pond down below us here. It’s just a perfect setting for a cemetery for our veterans.”
Veteran cemetery sponsors have been working with 2KM Architects Inc., to come up with some plans.
“With the veteran population in the Augusta area and the CSRA, it becomes a prime location and it’s roughly 90 plus miles to the other two facilities,” said Rob Mauldin, Principal Architect and CFO of 2KM Architects, Inc.
Clark added, “Want to make sure that everybody understands the need and want for something as essential as this. Having a final resting place for those who are serving their country and not having that additional burden on the families that bury their loved ones.”
Both the Georgia House and Senate signed resolutions in approval of constructing the veterans cemetery in Richmond County.
Continue to stick with us for any further developments.