Schumer urges ‘swift construction timetable’ for new national cemetery in Pembroke
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has completed the final acquisitions of an additional 60-acre parcel and a 77-acre parcel in Pembroke that is required in order for the VA to construct the new Western New York National Veterans Cemetery, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced.
Schumer said once constructed, the new veterans’ cemetery in Genesee County will be the first and only of its kind in the Buffalo-Rochester area and will save thousands of military families from having to travel upward of 100 miles to visit their loved ones at what is now the closest vet cemetery in Bath.
“It’s a huge cost saver for veterans,” Earl Schimdt, the Orleans County Veterans Service Agency director, told Orleans Hub previously. “You’re maintained, secured and honored every day.”
The cemetery provides free markers, burials and ongoing maintenance to veterans and their spouses.
The cemetery has been in the works for nine years. With the land acquisitions complete, Schumer is now urging the VA to swiftly begin construction of the cemetery this year. Schumer said with the two newly acquired parcels the cemetery will effectively double in size.
“I applaud the Department of Veteran Affairs for overcoming this last impediment and acquiring these two land parcels,” Schumer said. “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.”
Previously the VA purchased a 132-acre site bordering on Indian Falls Road and State Route 77 in the Town of Pembroke as the site of the new veterans’ cemetery but required these two additional parcels before construction could begin.
Schumer explained the new cemetery design calls for the main entrance to be built through this 60-acre parcel of land so that veterans, their families, and cemetery visitors can access the cemetery from Indian Falls Road, rather than via the busy State Route 77 corridor. Schumer said both parcels are located adjacent to the existing 132-acre cemetery site that was purchased by the VA in 2014.
“Making this cemetery a reality has been one of my top priorities, and now the VA has a clear path to begin construction,” Schumer said. “I am elated the VA heeded my calls and I look forward to seeing this project come to fruition. This cemetery’s construction guarantees Western New York’s veterans will have the proper burial, at a site close to the homes, families, and the very communities they dedicated their lives to defend and serve.”