AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– Plans are developing to create the third and largest veteran cemetery in the state of Georgia. Some Augusta-Richmond County Commissioners toured the property behind East Cenral Regional Hospital at Gracewood Friday.
“We are sight seeing and I’ll tell you what, I have never been out here before and I’ve heard so much through the years about Gracewood, but I’m overwhelmed. I mean it is unbelievable how much property is out here,” said District 3 Commissioner Catherine Smith McKnight.
The state has provided 219 acres for the project. The city has agreed to pay $1 million (10%) for building demolition and road widening. They hope to be awarded a federal grant through the Department of Veteran Affairs for the remaining $9 million.
“It went to the state for its budgeting process and we should know something by late October if we were in that group to get the funding for it,” District 2 Commissioner Dennis Williams said.
If they are not awarded the grant, they plan to reapply next year.
“Hopefully we’ll get that grant in October to start maybe in March,” Commissioner Smith McKnight said. “Otherwise, if we don’t then we’d have to wait another year, but it’d be great if we could so that we could go ahead and start breaking ground.”
Augusta is home to Ft. Gordon and more than 70,000 veterans.
“We have a huge military family presence in Augusta and we just feel that it’s necessary to have a veteran cemetery here in honor of them and to let them know that they always have a place in our hearts and in our minds,” District 10 Commissioner John Clarke said.