Tucked into President Trump’s budget is funding to construct a cemetery in Queens for at least 50,000 veterans as part of a new effort to expand burial options in densely populated cities for families of service members.
Unlike a traditional cemetery, the site in St. Albans would be an outdoor columbarium only for the cremated remains of New York City-area service members and their spouses.
Certain traditional VA cemeteries have columbaria, such as the one added in 2005 to the Long Island National Cemetery that had been at capacity. But the Queens construction would be among the first wave of columbaria-only veterans cemeteries in the United States.
The Department of Veterans of Affairs in 2015 hadpitched constructing a unique cemetery for funeral urns in Queens, acknowledging the travel time to the Calverton and Long Island National Cemeteries on Long Island is a burden for the families in the city.
The first step of the project is demolishing two buildings on the VA’s St. Albans Community Living Center – estimated to cost $1 to $5 million.