VA buys land to expand central Nebraska cemetery to nearly double its current size

VA buys land to expand central Nebraska cemetery to nearly double its current size
Wreaths lay on graves at Fort McPherson National Cemetery near Maxwell, Nebraska, in 2014. The VA announced plans to purchase property that would nearly double the size of the cemetery. KAMIE STEPHEN/WORLD-HERALD NEWS SERVICE

MAXWELL, Neb. — Fort McPherson National Cemetery will be expanded to nearly double its current size.

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Monday that it has purchased 18 acres for the expansion.

The land is on the north side of the current 20-acre cemetery and will provide for at least 15,000 more graves, keeping the cemetery operational for at least the next 100 years, according to a VA press release.

Fort McPherson assistant cemetery director Steven Weir-Santos said that roads would be built in the new area but that no buildings are planned. He said the expansion would put the cemetery ahead of anticipated need. He said he did not know when the first burial would take place in the new area.

More than half the veterans in the area served by Fort McPherson choose to be buried there.

The VA purchased the 18 acres from Donna Sundstrom for $115,765, according to the VA release. That’s $6,431 per acre.

Fort McPherson National Cemetery was established in 1873 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.

There are two more national cemeteries in Nebraska: Omaha National Cemetery, which is in Sarpy County on the south side of Omaha, and Forest Lawn Cemetery Soldiers’ Lot in Omaha.

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