Kaua‘i Veterans Cemetery to expand

LIHU‘E — As young soldiers and officers, they fought for the United States, and then went on with their lives. One day, most of Kaua‘i’s servicemen will be reunited at their place of final rest.

The Kaua‘i Planning Commission on Tuesday approved a set of permits that will allow the expansion of the Kaua‘i Veterans Cemetery in Hanapepe.

Built in 1950, the cemetery has capacity for 2,500 gravesites, including in-ground burial plots, buried cremain plots and columbarium niches. There is an average of one to two burials per week.

If nothing is done, the cemetery will reach capacity in approximately 10 years, according to Neal Mitsuyoshi, Chief Engineer Officer at the state Department of Defense.

The permits approved by the commission Tuesday will allow the project to move forward in three phases and ultimately expand to accommodate 4,500 gravesites, which would ensure sufficient internment for the next 50 years, according to Gene Young, planner at Belt Collins, the company hired to develop the project.

Phase I will focus on building a new maintenance facility at the cemetery’s northeast corner. The county Parks and Recreation Department is in charge of maintenance, and uses a maintenance facility off-property, Young said.

Lasting between two and three years, this phase also would include extension of a rockwall and the building of a new parking lot gate. This phase would not add burial capacity.

Phase II focus on improvements to the parking lot driveway, including a circular turnaround at the end of the driveway, renovation of the committal shelter, building of a new concrete walkway and installation of an automatic irrigation system.

Young said this phase is anticipated within 10 years.

The third and final phase of the cemetery’s expansion will include the construction of a new columbarium complex at the end of the circular driveway turnaround, adding upwards of 1,440 columbarium niches.

Site improvements during this phase will include grading, landscaping and further expansion of the driveway into the remainder of the added lot. These improvements will make available burial sections, adding upwards of 790 cremain plots and 1,670 full casket burial plots.

Phase III is anticipated to be complete within 20 years, according to Young.

Mitsuyoshi said now that the permits are available, the state Department of Accounting and General Services will seek funding sources to implement each phase.

The entire funding for the project, Mitsuyoshi said, will come from the federal government.

Kaua‘i Veterans Cemetery is at 4331 Lele Road in Hanapepe, Port Allen Airport. The cemetery currently sits on a 5.44-acre land owned by the state. The expansion will add six acres to the cemetery.

• Léo Azambuja, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or lazambuja@ thegardenisland.com.


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