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Proposed Southern California State Veterans Cemetery
On April 12, 2016, the Irvine City Council voted to reaffirm its 2014 actions to support the establishment of a State Veterans Cemetery on a 125-acre parcel of City-owned land known as the ARDA, and to aggressively pursue support at the State and Federal levels. This action was taken after considering a request for a land exchange. To read the Staff Report: April 12, 2016 Staff Report

CalVet Submits Pre-Grant Application

On June 28, 2016 the State Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) informed City staff that it submitted its pre-application to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Federal Veterans Administration requesting Federal grant funds for the Southern California Veterans Cemetery on the ARDA Transfer Site, as directed in Assembly Bill 1453. For any questions, please contact CalVet.
  • CalVet’s 330 page submittal requesting Federal grant funds can be viewed HERE. The Concept Plan provides a report and 330 pages of appendices and attachments.
  • CalVet’s May 2016 update including Next Steps is available by clicking HERE.

On July 25, 2016 CalVet shared a LETTER from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs concerning the pre-application for the Southern California Veterans Cemetery. The USDVA has accepted CalVet’s application as meeting the initial requirements for funding consideration and will consider a maximum $10 million grant. The USDVA did state that a larger grant request was unsustainable for its cemetery grant program (typically $45 - $46 million annual program nationwide).  

Federal VA Response to CalVet Pre-Grant Application

CalVet requested $38 million in federal cemetery grant funds to construct Phase I of the Southern California Veterans Cemetery on the ARDA site. The total Phase I cost estimate is $77 million for the state-owned and operated Veterans Cemetery. The VA described the $38 million request as not sustainable for its nationwide grant program (typically $45 - $46 million annually). The VA ranked the Southern California Veterans Cemetery at 74 out of 101 on its USDVA FY 2017 Grant Priority List, with a maximum $10 million grant. The VA notes further discussion is needed for a more sustainable project.

Latest City Council Actions

On April 4, 2017, the City Council voted to pursue a dual track option which includes authorizing the City Manager to take all necessary steps, in cooperation with CalVet, and the U.S. Veterans Administration to accelerate the processing and final approvals for expedited construction of the Southern California Veterans Cemetery, as designated at the 125-acre parcel, known as the ARDA Transfer Site. The goal of commencing cemetery operations was identified to begin on or before Veterans Day 2019.

The City Manager was directed to deploy all appropriate resources authorized and specified in the Veterans Cemetery motion adopted by the City Council on April 12, 2016. Additionally, convey to the Governor’s office, CalVet, and appropriate members of the State Legislature, the City’s offer to guarantee local funding of up to $40 million.

Staff was simultaneously directed to pursue the understanding of the offer from Five Point Communities; and to match State Funds, up to and including the $38 million in City funds, that would be appropriated in the upcoming budget cycle.

Other Actions

In early 2017, Assemblymember Quirk-Silva introduced Assembly Bill 409 making technical and non-substantive changes to Assembly Bill 1453 enacted in 2014 that directed CalVet to submit the pre-grant application for the ARDA site.

Additional information is available via the following links:


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