$600,000 included in budget to purchase property for Upper Cumberland Veterans Cemetery
by Kim Swindell Wood | March 9, 2018 10:20 am
Last Updated: March 9, 2018 at 10:22 am
Senate State and Local Government Committee Chairman Ken Yager (R-Kingston) and Senator Paul Bailey (R-Sparta) amended the budget for the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs to include $600,000 to purchase property for the Upper Cumberland Veterans Cemetery. The amendment was proposed in the Senate State and Local Government Committee on Tuesday when Many-Bears Grinder, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs, presented the department’s budget for approval.
“Veterans in the Upper Cumberland area of Tennessee have been working for several years to fund a veterans cemetery for their area,” said Senator Bailey. “It is time for the state to commit the funds needed to ensure these veterans have a proper resting place.”
Currently, Tennessee has four state veterans cemeteries – one in Nashville, one in Memphis, two in Knoxville, and one in Parkers Crossroads, the state’s first rural veterans cemetery.
“This is a very important issue that deserves our attention,” said Chairman Yager. “The courageous men and women of the Upper Cumberland who have served our country so well deserve to have a dignified final resting place. I strongly support those veterans and hope to see this money committed to their efforts.”
If the state commits $600,000 towards the purchase of a veterans cemetery in the Upper Cumberland, local communities will be responsible for the remaining costs of the $1 million project. So far, local communities in the Upper Cumberland have raised $145,000.
“Veterans in the Upper Cumberland are discouraged about raising funds because the state continues to pull back its commitment to fund the project,” added Bailey. “If this money is committed to their efforts, then they will have the confidence to move forward in raising the remaining funds needed.”
The Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs budget will proceed to the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee for approval, where the conversation on this issue will continue.