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Plans set to expand Veterans Cemetery

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - For years, it's been neglected. You've heard the stories of overgrown vegetation and a general lack of maintenance overall. But plans are in the works to expand and improve Veterans Cemetery in Piti.

The final resting place for our island's heroes who have paid the ultimate sacrifice will finally get the honor, respect and maintenance it needs. According to Veterans Affairs Office employee Cindy Gogo, with the facmility nearing maximum capacity plans are in the works for expansion and renovation. "We are looking at possibly another five years for the cemetery to be filled to capacity, so there's a lot of work that needs to be done," she shared.

Gogo says the VA Office is working on a conceptual plan to secure $35,000 in federal grant funding through the Congressional Delegate Madeleine Bordallo's office, as well as securing a $4 million contract for the expansion in 2013. She says the plans will have to get a once over review by the Guam Legislature.

In the meantime, Gogo says several ideas are being examined to create more space. "We do have a crypt that one urn is in there so once if the columbarium does come to fruition then some of those urns will be taken out and put into the columbarium which would make that crypt be available for one casket," she explained.

She adds the VA Office did secure a $282,000 grant to begin repair and renovations to the cemetery. On October 1, the contractor that won the bid will begin construction and that is the retrofitting of the Guam Veterans Cemetery to work on the chapel and the administration building by installing air con, changing the louvers, doing electrical and also the power pole outside that's damaged.  

Gogo says the funding comes at a great time, as the Veterans Affairs Office brought on three new personnel to assist with daily operational needs.

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