Gazette Article on the Pikes Peak National Cemetery

May 5, 2016
Press Release

New veterans cemetery near Colorado Springs will be named for America's mountain

By Tom Roeder, The Gazette

The new veterans cemetery being built east of Colorado Springs will be named for America's mountain, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced Wednesday night.

The Pikes Peak National Cemetery, to be constructed off Drennan Road, got its name in a months-long process involving local veterans, leaders and the VA. The agency has already purchased 374 acres to hold the graves of veterans and Congress is expected to approve $36 million in the coming months to pay for construction starting in 2017.

"I think if you look at that, it's probably not a big surprise," said Steve Best who heads VA cemetery efforts in a nine-state region that includes Colorado, as he revealed the Pikes Peak name. "I think we got it right."

VA officials said the Pikes Peak name got overwhelming support from local veterans groups and officials.

The cemetery site was picked for the sweeping mountain views that will greet visitors. And it will be a well-visited place in the future.

When full, the cemetery will hold the remains of an estimated 95,000 veterans and VA says that's enough for more than a century of burials. Burial in the cemetery will be provided at no cost for veterans who served honorably.

The cemetery came after a nearly 20-year push by local veterans who objected to a VA policy that forced local veterans to seek their final refuge at Fort Logan in Denver.

"We finally have the place, the design, the funding and now a name," Colorado Springs Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, a prime backer of the cemetery. "It has taken a lot of years of hard work by a lot of people to get to this place."

If the process doesn't hit the rocks, the first local veterans could be buried at the cemetery in 2018.

"I'll do everything I can to make sure the timeline keeps moving forward," Lamborn pledged.

VA officials say architects are at work and they'll soon be ready to start building at the cemetery site.

"We're excited to bring this national cemetery to Colorado Springs," said Glenn Madderom, head of cemetery development for VA. "We think this will be a great addition for Colorado Springs."