WASHINGTON –The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) sent a letter to the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs announcing its intention to participate in the federal Veterans Cemetery Grants Service Program to build the California Coast State Veterans Cemetery at the former Fort Ord. The $6.7 million grant 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.  
 
“With CalVet’s acceptance of the federal grant, California has made clear its intent to finally build a veterans cemetery at Fort Ord,” said Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel. “Central Coast veterans worked hard to make this dream a reality and through a partnership with the state and federal government, that hard work has paid off with today’s news.”
 
Additionally, the California Speaker of the Assembly John Pérez announced today that he plans to provide $1 million in matching funds for the cemetery project.  The funds will go towards the $2.6 million non-reimbursable costs under the grant program to build the cemetery. That state has already appropriated $1 million in funds for the construction of the cemetery. The planned $2 million from the state will supplement the $600,000 raised by the local veterans. When combined with the $6.7 million grant, it will provide the entire $9.3 million necessary to build the first phase of the cemetery. 
 
“Speaker Pérez’s continued support for veterans has helped move this project forward,” said Farr. “Today he reaffirmed his commitment and the state’s commitment to honor our local veterans’ sacrifices by building a cemetery at Fort Ord.” 
 
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 the construction of the cemetery.

A copy of the letter can be viewed at http://1.usa.gov/1bUStve

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