The Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery, in North Little Rock, was the recipient of nearly $4.5 million in federal grants Monday. While on the grounds Governor Mike Beebe also spoke about the future site of a Veterans Home, making it clear that options are not limited to four sites previously outlined by a legislative task force.
George Eisenbach, the federal director in charge of the grants, formally recognized the award and said it will be used to add 3,800 pre-placed crypts, a memorial wall, and more efficient irrigation systems.
Governor Beebe said the award is a tangible sign of action for veterans.
“It’s more than rhetoric, it’s more than words. Often times the words are not followed by the deeds. Often times the rhetoric is not matched by the actual follow through. But what we’ve seen here and what we continue to see here is that people are putting their money where their mouth is and putting plans into action that sometimes people merely talk about,” said Beebe.
The cemetery is currently finishing developments from two previous federal grants and expects to have the new work completed in 18 to 20 months.
After the awarding of the grant money Governor Beebe spoke about possible future locations for the Veterans Home, meant to replace a Little Rock facility shut down due to disrepair. Previously a task force made up of both legislative and non-legislative members announced they were considering four locations: Jacksonville, Benton, Fort Smith, and Russellville – Little Rock is not among proposed sites. But Beebe said options are not limited to just those four sites.
“We’re not limited to those four. So, anybody else that wants to submit a proposal, if it ends up being better in the eyes of the people that make that decision, will be considered. It’s not down to just those four. Those four certainly have a leg up, and rightfully so, they were screened by a committee. But we’ve made it very, very clear that there wasn’t an artificial cut off date,” said Beebe.
The task force charged with making recommendations meets again in September to craft recommendations to be presented on October 31st to the Arkansas General Assembly.