VanderWall-sponsored bill would establish northern Michigan military cemetery

December 20, 2022

Sen. Curt VanderWall

VanderWall-sponsored bill would establish northern Michigan military cemetery

LANSING —  Sen. Curt VanderWall’s bill to establish a state military cemetery in northern Michigan has been sent to the governor’s desk after receiving final approval by the 101st Legislature during its concluding session earlier this month.

“Those who have served in our armed forces deserve access to a final resting place near their families that will allow them to be formally honored for their service and a veterans cemetery centrally located in northern Michigan will make this possible for more men and women who have answered the call of duty in our nation’s military,” said VanderWall, R-Ludington.

Senate Bill 971 would create a veterans cemetery fund within the Department of Treasury and authorize a land purchase to formally establish a state military cemetery in Crawford County. The cemetery would be the state’s first burial ground dedicated to veterans north of the I-69 and I-96 corridors.

“It is the goal of the federal Department of Veterans Affairs that veterans have reasonable access to a military cemetery within a 75-mile radius — that means we still have a lot of room to work with in Michigan,” VanderWall said. “Establishing a veterans cemetery in Crawford County is simply the right thing to do.”

Funding for the cemetery project was previously set aside in House Bill 5783, now Public Act 166 of 2022. The fiscal year 2023 omnibus budget included $1.5 million from the state’s general fund — to be reimbursed by the federal government — to initiate the project. The full project is anticipated to cost between $10 and $15 million to plan and construct and will be funded with federal dollars.

VanderWall is in his final days as senator. He was recently elected to serve in the Michigan House of Representatives as the 102nd district representative, beginning Jan. 1, 2023. The district includes portions of Manistee, Mason, Oceana and Muskegon counties. 

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