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Great Seal of the State of Idaho

C.L. "BUTCH" OTTER
GOVERNOR

NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 1, 2018
18:040

CONTACT: Kevin Wallior
(208) 780-1300

 

 

 

IDAHO TO GET VA GRANT FOR STATE VETERANS CEMETERY IN SOUTHEASTERN IDAHO

(BOISE) – Governor C.L. “Butch”Otter announced today that the Idaho Division of Veterans Services (IDVS) has been notified that Idaho will be awarded a $7.4 million grant in FY 2019 to establish a State Veterans Cemetery in Southeastern Idaho. This will be Idaho's third Veterans Cemetery, joining the current State Veterans Cemetery in Boise and the proposed National Rural Veterans Cemetery being constructed in Buhl.

“This is a tremendous investment that will go a long way towards properly recognizing and preserving what will be hallowed ground for some of our unsung heroes and patriots” said Governor C. L. “Butch” Otter. “The First Lady and I
celebrate this milestone with our veterans and their families who will soon have a facility in eastern Idaho dedicated to recognizing the sacrifice of those men and women who heard the call and gave up a portion of their lives to defend freedom.”

Marv Hagedorn, Chief Administrator of the Idaho Division of Veterans Services, praised the work of his team. “I am proud of the work team IDVS has done to secure this grant for the state of Idaho, and for southeastern Idaho's Veterans. The work of my Deputy Chief Tracy Schaner and James Earp, the Bureau Chief of the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, particularly stands out.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Cemetery Grants Program was established in 1978 to complement the VA’s National Cemetery Administration. The program assists states, territories and federally recognized tribal governments in providing gravesites for veterans in those areas where VA’s national cemeteries cannot fully satisfy their burial needs. Grants may be used only for the purpose of establishing, expanding or improving veterans cemeteries that are owned and operated by a state, federally recognized tribal government, or U.S. territory. Aid can be granted only to states, federally recognized tribal governments, or U.S. territories. The VA cannot provide grants to private organizations, counties, cities or other government agencies.

Cemeteries established under the grant program must conform to the standards and guidelines pertaining to site selection, planning and construction prescribed by the VA. Cemeteries must be operated solely for the burial of service members who die on active duty, veterans, and their eligible spouses and dependent children. Any cemetery assisted by a VA grant must be maintained and operated according to the operational standards and measures of the National Cemetery Administration.

The new State Veterans Cemetery will be located on 40 acres of farmland adjacent to State Hospital South in Blackfoot, Idaho. The initial phase of construction will develop up to 23 acres and include 500 preplaced crypts, 400 columbarium niches and 150 in-ground burial plots. The initial phase also would include construction of a main entrance, committal shelter, in-ground cremains burial areas, roads, a maintenance facility, an assembly area and supporting infrastructure. The project expects to break-ground by the summer of 2019.

“This highly anticipated decision is of great importance as the Idaho Division of Veterans Services, the Idaho Department of Public Works, and many others have done a tremendous amount of work over the past two years to prepare for the upcoming formal construction process,” commented James Earp, Bureau Chief of the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery. “I appreciate the interest and patience of the veterans and citizens in eastern Idaho throughout this process as we are closer now than ever to establishing Idaho's second State Veterans Cemetery."

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