Work continues toward veterans cemetery

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Congressman Spencer Bachus has announced that progress is being made on construction for the proposed Veteran’s Cemetery in Montevallo.

&8220;The construction of this cemetery is significant for Alabama’s aging veteran population,&8221; Bachus said. &8220;I am pleased to see the Department of Veterans Affairs steadily moving forward on this project.

&8220;It is only fitting those in Alabama who have served our country with honor are afforded a final resting place near their loved ones.&8221;

During the year, local property owners surrounding the American Village have cooperated with the department to facilitate access to their properties by an environmental assessment team.

The process is scheduled to be completed next month, Bachus, U.S. representative from the 6th Congressional District which represents Shelby County, said.

VA officials believe the department will recommend purchasing several of the small properties pending the results of the assessment, he said, and the land acquisition should be complete in a year.

Construction will begin with the cemetery set to open in 2008 with enough acreage to accommodate burials for 40 or 50 years.

An environmental assessment of the site is required to ensure that the land meets the soil type and topographical criteria necessary to support a large-scale national cemetery such as the one proposed at the Village.

MACTEC, an Atlanta-based engineering firm which is already under contract with the VA, is overseeing the assessment.

In 2003, the department was directed by Congress to establish a new cemetery in the Birmingham area that currently has a population of more than 212,000 veterans who have no practical burial option in a national cemetery