Days after the state released high-profile cost estimates for a veterans cemetery in Irvine, two groups of veterans are moving support to an area in Anaheim Hills that is already being planned as a public burial site.
The Veterans Alliance of Orange County (or VALOR), whose board consists of Army, Navy and Navy veterinarians, ranked 7th at the intersection of Highway 91 and Toll Road 241 on Monday.
“This site is majestic, it is beautiful, it is seen by tens of thousands of people every day, which reminds us of our freedoms and sacrifices,” said VALOR President Nick Berardino.
“Although we have our financial and legal challenges ahead of us, we will not be drawn into a civil war, we will fight a single mission.”
This “civil war”? Irvine officials could not decide which of two possible cemetery locations to pursue. Late last week, the State Department of Veterans Affairs released cost estimates for both locations – up to $ 75 million for a 100-acre portion of Orange County Great Park that was planned as a golf course, and up to $ 110 million for one 125-hectare property called ARDA on the northern border of the park. Both locations were part of the former El Toro Marine air base, which was closed in 1999.
The move to the Anaheim Hills location is also supported by the Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation, which was established specifically to support a cemetery project in the county.
“We don’t have time for another decade of petty political struggles and broken promises to our veterans,” said foundation chairman Bill Cook in a press release.
But the Anaheim Hills estate is also facing obstacles. There are no official cost estimates for construction there, and it is unclear whether the state – which was supposed to build and operate an Irvine veterans cemetery – would support the use of the site.
This story evolves. Please check again for updates.