Rayville Veterans Cemetery On Track For 2016 Opening

RAYVILLE, LA (AP) — Construction on the $7.3 million Northeast Louisiana Veterans Cemetery near Rayville is on track for an early 2016 opening.

         Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David LaCerte told The News-Star’s Greg Hilburn Tuesday all dirt work is complete, underground storm drains are in place and the foundations have been poured for the administrative and maintenance buildings and committal shelter.

         "I am pleased to announce that construction of the Northeast Louisiana Veterans Cemetery is progressing very well," LaCerte said. "Despite the uncharacteristically cold weather northeastern Louisiana experienced earlier this year, work at the cemetery site has continued to move forward at a good pace with no serious delays slowing down the project."

         The main roadway has been grated and asphalt work will begin soon. Underground drainage for the crypt area will be installed in the coming weeks with underground crypt installation scheduled for June.

         The 50-acre site, which was donated by the Franklin family, is located near Interstate 20 off U.S. Highway 425 and Louisiana 137. Up to 35,000 veterans could be buried there.

         Louisiana's state veterans cemeteries are often described as "mini-Arlingtons," referring to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

         They have similar amenities and features and employ a staff of 10 to 15 workers. Once the federal agency pays for planning and construction, the state takes over the operating expense.

         The completed project will feature a main entrance, an administration building, a maintenance facility, roads, an assembly area, a committal shelter, preplaced crypts, cremains burial gravesites, memorial and scatter burial areas, columbaria, landscaping and a memorial walkway.

         Louisiana's Department of Veterans Affairs operates three other veterans cemeteries in Keithville south of Shreveport, near Folk Polk in Leesville and adjacent to Louisiana National Guard Camp Villere in Slidell.

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