VA Cemetery in Bath, Steuben County
BUFFALO, NY -- As we approach Veterans Day, 2 on Your Side has learned that VA officials will announce in mid to late December their findings on two suggested sites for a new national cemetery for veterans in Western New York. Veterans groups have pointed out there is a definite need for such a cemetery between Buffalo and Rochester because of the aging population of nearly 100,000 veterans in the region. The closest national VA Cemetery at this point is 80 miles away in the southern tier community of Bath, Steuben County.
Department of Veterans Affairs spokeswoman Josephine Schuda says the agency is now wrapping up an environmental assessment of two final sites of more than 100 acres. One is on Walden Avenue near Pavement Road in the Town of Lancaster. The other is in the Genesee County town of Pembroke. The VA previously looked at sites in Pembroke on Main Road and Indian Falls Road. The land will then be acquired in mid-winter.
Congressman Brian Higgins says many veterans in his district, which does not include the suggested sites, have pressed for the government to provide a final resting place for those who have served in the military. While there is a projected cost of $36 million dollars, Higgins points out it is a matter of respect.
Congressman - Elect Chris Collins would have the proposed cemetery in his newly drawn district. He says he supported the cemetery plan as Erie County Executive and will do so in Washington as well because veterans and their families deserve it.
Lancaster Town Supervisor Dino Fudoli says the town will agree if the VA presses for the Walden Avenue site. But he does point out his concern that a heavy volume of traffic from trucks and cars and nearby industry at that location may not be appropriate for those seeking a quiet resting place. The location is also near the Eastport Commerce site which is a planned industrial park owned by Uniland.
Genesee county officials say they welcome the chance to host the new cemetery.
VA officials say there will be a 30 day comment period after the findings on the potential sites are announced.