By now, most people know the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will be awarding approximately $5.9 million to Minnesota to establish a State Veterans Cemetery in Redwood County.
On Tuesday morning, David Swantek, Cemetery Director with the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, spoke to the Redwood County Commissioners with some updates.
Swantek gave a rough timeline for the project. Bidding is expected to be done by June of 2021, with construction to start by the autumn of that year. Swantek said these sorts of projects generally have a two year construction time, so the Redwood County Veterans Cemetery is expected to officially open to accept veterans’ remains on Veterans Day of 2023. However, the official opening ceremony will most likely be done in the spring of 2024, when the weather is nicer and all of the final details are finished.
Swantek noted that the amount of the federal grant for the cemetery has not been set yet for a definite reason: the actual grant amount will be determined once the bids for construction have been accepted, and the amount for engineering is determined:
Swantek also said the county commissioners have to finish up some bits of business before the state or federal governments can step in:
The state currently has one national veterans cemetery, Fort Snelling National Cemetery, plus three state veterans cemeteries: in Duluth, Little Falls and Preston. A fourth state veterans cemetery, the Leech Lake Tribal Veterans Cemetery, is under construction in Cass Lake.
The proposed cemetery in Redwood County would be the fifth state veterans cemetery, and would serve more than 22,000 veterans, their spouses and eligible family members.