The long-awaited national veterans cemetery planned for Genesee County has taken another step closer to reality.
Sen. Charles Schumer, a longtime advocate for the new Western New York National Veterans Cemetery, has announced the acquisition of two pieces of land, a 66-acre lot and an adjacent 77-acre parcel in the town of Pembroke. That, along with 132 acres of land already acquired, completes the land acquisition phase and clears the way for infrastructure construction.
“The veterans of Western New York deserve a final resting place worthy of their service to our nation,” said Randy Reeves, VA Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs. “I am happy we can move forward in constructing what will be the final resting place for many veterans and spouses.”
Congress has set aside $36 million for construction of the project. Schumer said the Pembroke cemetery will save more than 96,000 military families in the Buffalo-Rochester area from having to travel to what is now the closest veteran cemetery in Bath, NY.
The newly acquired land will allow the cemetery entrance to be on Indian Falls Road rather than the busier adjacent State Route 77, just north of the state Thruway interchange.
“I applaud the Department of Veteran Affairs for overcoming this last impediment and acquiring these two land parcels," said Schumer. "With this final hurdle cleared, I urge the VA to stick to a swift construction timetable and take the steps to begin the Western New York Veterans Cemetery construction this year."
The VA said it plans to solicit and award a construction contract by late summer, with construction targeted for the fall.
"The initial phase of construction will develop approximately 70 acres and provide for approximately 10 years of burials, accommodating both casketed and cremated remains," said Reeves. "A dedication ceremony and first burials is expected to occur between 12-18 months after construction starts."