By Craig Bennett
Most states have a federally run veterans cemetery. Utah does not, but that may possibly change in 2017.
It was reported last week that the National Cemetery Administration is looking at two sites in Cedar City for a veterans’ cemetery. That agency is currently doing its “due diligence” on the two sites, to see if either would work at filling a need in the state. The only veterans’ cemetery in Utah right now is operated by the state at Camp Williams near Salt Lake City. It’s estimated that the cemetery will be out of spaces for plots in five or six years.
According to www.va.gov, there is an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 veterans in the state of Utah. Glenn Madderom, chief of cemetery development and improvement in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, said a decision could be made in the next 8 to 12 months, according to a report published in the Salt Lake Tribune.
This cemetery would provide burial plots to veterans in the Iron County area. The agency identified Cedar City as a central location for southwest Utah’s rural veterans. Madderom said there are about 17,000 veterans living within a 75-mile radius of Cedar City, according to the Tribune report.
The Cemetery Administration began trying to find a site in southwest Utah in 2014, according to the Tribune report. Originally, the administration wanted a site within or adjacent to an existing cemetery. When that couldn’t be found, the Cemetery Administration looked for land to purchase elsewhere. Madderom said a number of potential locations fizzled when owners were either unwilling to sell or problems at the sites were discovered.