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Proposed Southern California State Veterans Cemetery
In 2014, Assembly Bill 1453 (AB 1453) was signed into law to establish a Southern California Veterans Cemetery in Orange County. AB 1453 became effective January 1, 2015 and signified an initial step in a multi-agency, multi-year process led by the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet).

While AB 1453 was being considered by the State Legislature, on July 22, 2014, the Irvine City Council adopted Resolution No. 14-92 expressing its intent to convey what is referred to as the Amended and Restated Development Agreement (ARDA) Transfer Site (at the former Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro) to the State for it to create the Southern California Veterans Memorial Park and Cemetery, subject to all necessary and appropriate studies, procedures and agreements with the State and Federal governments. The intent was to place the cemetery on the former base and the result is 125 acres of City land next to the Great Park proper.

AB 1453 directed CalVet to submit a pre-application requesting Federal Veterans Cemetery Grant Funds (administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) to design, develop, construct and equip the cemetery. Using the $500,000 allocated by AB 1453, CalVet hired consultants to assist with the pre-application, determine burial rates, develop a concept plan and develop cost estimates.

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 swap. To read the Staff Report: April 12, 2016 Staff Report

CalVet Update

On June 28, 2016 CalVet informed City staff that it submitted its pre-application to the Federal Veterans Administration requesting Federal grant funds for the Southern California Veterans Cemetery on the ARDA Transfer Site. 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).  

The USDVA FY 2017 Grant Priority List was released in early October 2016 ranking the Southern California Veterans Cemetery at 74 out of 101 proposed state veteran cemetery projects.  The Priority List confirmed that the project is eligible for $10 million from the USDVA and listed it in Group 2, as there are no funds allocated for architecture/engineering and likely because further discussion is needed for a more sustainable grant request.

Additional information is available via the following links:


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