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UC Veteran’s Cemetery Land Purchase Finalized

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
UC Veteran’s Cemetery Land Purchase Finalized

The Upper Cumberland Veteran’s Cemetery has found its home in Sparta after the state finalized a deal for land along Country Club Road.

The search for an Upper Cumberland location has been an ongoing process for several years. Veteran’s Services Deputy Commissioner Tilman Goins said the 127 acres finally complete the department’s goals of having state wide cemetery coverage.

“Veterans and Veteran’s families can put a loved one inside a Veteran’s Cemetery and have relatively close access to it,” Goins said. “But in the rural parts of the state, that is not something they have had. Every Veteran is the same. Every Veteran served. Every Veteran and Veteran’s family deserves the same benefit.”

Goins said the land still needs to be prepared and service buildings need to be built before any graves come to the area. Goins said the state is working on a National Cemetery Administration grant application to fund the project.

“We have to put together a package,” Goins said. “What is it that we are wanting to do scope wise. Include some research on how many Veterans are within that 75 mile radius that would be served, so we know what size of an investment to make initially.”

The cemetery will serve about 50,000 people including veterans and their families. The state’s goal of finding a site faced roadblocks due to property prices and topography challenges.

“Without talking about any particular one piece of land, there are several challenges to the region,” Goins said. “There are terrain challenges. Anybody that lives up there knows it is a rocky area of the state. So even if we would got something close to contract, we would realize it was not suitable for a cemetery. Either the way the terrain lays with the pitch, slope of the land or with the amount of rock discovered to be in the land.”

A deal for 93-acres adjacent to I-40 in Cumberland County fell apart in April after the owner raised their original asking price.

“Then there were also some other challenges along the way,” Goins said. “Unfortunately, when people feel like it is something the state of Tennessee is involved in. They want to make sure get a premium for their property prices. Certainly, the state of Tennessee wants to make sure fair market value is had.”

The grant process is lengthy, so ground will not be broken this year.


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