Northern Utah residents eager to create new veterans’ cemetery | News, Sports, Jobs
OGDEN — Northern Utah veterans will soon have the option of having their final resting place closer to home. A state-run veterans cemetery should begin to take shape within the next two to three years, according to Utah Department of Veterans Affairs and Military Affairs Executive Director Gary Harter.
Former VMA director Terry Schow, who has been trying for years to bring a veterans’ cemetery to the area, said it’s long overdue.
“To my knowledge, no one wants to be buried there,” Schow said of the Utah Veterans Cemetery and Memorial Park in Bluffdale, currently the state’s only military-specific resting place. .
With more than 100 acres of land south of Ogden Regional Medical Center donated for the project, the state is working with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to build northern Utah’s first veterans cemetery.
Gulf War veteran Steve Ross said fellow members of the Golden Veterans group in Ogden were excited about the cemetery, with some asking when they could start registering for a burial plot.
“I’m thinking of myself,” Ross said.
Ross was given a burial plot next to his parents at the Arizona National Memorial Cemetery as a recipient of the Silver Star Medal for gallantry in battle, but he said he believed the trip to Phoenix to visit his grave would be difficult for his wife. .
While veterans would be responsible for their own casket, their burial would cost them nothing. Spouses of veterans can be buried with their loved one in the cemetery for a fee.
“It’s going to be a two-story plot though, so they’ll have to fight over who comes out on top,” Schow said.
Walks to visit loved ones buried at the Utah Veterans Cemetery and Memorial Park are offered to members of the Golden Veterans group, but Ross said none of the group members have family buried there. low.
The group, however, has veterans buried in private cemeteries in the area. A burial grant can be obtained from the VA National Cemetery Administration for any veteran, with varying amounts and benefits depending on the veteran’s status.
Schow said private cemeteries lack a special sense of camaraderie. “A veterans cemetery is sacred ground,” he said.
Early phases of development are expected to cost the state $15 million, in upfront reimbursable costs such as architectural design, cemetery layout and a National Environmental Policy Act process used to assess potential impacts on the environment.
Construction costs are to be covered by the Veterans Cemetery Grant Program, with day-to-day cemetery operations covered by federal funds.
The program has awarded more than $910 million in grants since 1978, when it was established to develop, expand, improve, operate and maintain 119 veteran cemeteries in 48 states and territories, including trust lands tribal, Guam and Saipan.
NCA spokesman James LaPaglia said he is unsure whether the proposed area for the Weber County cemetery meets the administration’s baseline requirement of a population of more than 25,000. veterans within a 75 mile radius of the property. The NCA relies on information such as the veteran population provided to them in the grant application, which LaPaglia said he has not yet received from the state.
According to Schow, Harter will wait until next year’s funding round to submit the grant application.