Final Land Acquisition Made for National Veterans Cemetery in Pembroke
Written by Dan Fischer on February 19, 2018
Today, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced that the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has completed the final acquisitions of an additional 60-acre parcel and a 77-acre parcel in Pembroke, New York that is required in order for the VA to construct the new Western New York National Veterans Cemetery. With the 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. 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, NY. Schumer said now it is vital the VA begin the cemetery’s construction.
“I applaud the Department of Veteran Affairs for overcoming this last impediment and acquiring these two land parcels. 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. Making this cemetery a reality has been one of my top priorities, and now the VA has a clear path to begin construction. I am elated the VA heeded my calls and I look forward to seeing this project come to fruition,” said Senator Schumer. “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.”
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 veteran’s 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. The VA had advised last year that before the VA could acquire these two parcels needed to begin the cemetery’s construction, a buried gas line that traversed the 60 acre and 77-acre parcels needed to be plugged and then relocated. Per the timeline provided by the VA to Schumer’s office in June 2017, the VA aimed to begin construction approximately six months after purchase of the 60 and 77-acre parcels, followed by the opening of the early turnover area for burials a year later in 2019.