WASHINGTON, DC –U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced its intention to award the state of California $6.7 million to build the California Coast State Veterans Cemetery at Fort Ord. The funds will cover all construction costs associated with building Phase 1: Columbarium of the cemetery. The state can apply for future grants to build the additional phases of the cemetery.

“For 20 years, Central Coast veterans have worked tirelessly to build a cemetery at the former Fort Ord,” said U.S. Representative Sam Farr, D-Carmel. “With this grant, we will finally show them our appreciation by building a final resting place that honors their service.”

The state of California already included $1.5 million in its budget for the cemetery project. Under the grant program, California will be reimbursed for all construction costs associated with the cemetery.

“This is great news and represents another critical step forward toward establishment of the veterans cemetery at Fort Ord,” said California State Senator Bill Monning, D-Carmel.

Fort Ord was the largest training base in the western United States and was the major staging ground for operations in the Pacific. Many World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans trained at the former Army base.  When the base was closed in 1994, to honor that connection to many of today’s veterans, land was set aside by the Fort Ord Reuse Authority (FOR A) for the construction of the cemetery.

“Veterans in our region have waited a long time for this good news,” said California State Assemblymember Mark Stone, D-Monterey Bay. “It’s heartening to see that the hard work to secure this important grant will finally pay off, and it’s been a pleasure collaborating with our Central Coast veterans to make it happen.”

The VA has requested that the California Department of Veterans Affairs respond by October 15, 2013 with its decision on accepting the grant.