vet cemetery maranaA new State Veterans’ Cemetery is coming to Marana. Gov. Jan Brewer announced Friday the Arizona Department of Veterans Services was awarded a $7.6 million federal grant for the cemetery which will fund the construction of the 32 acres of donated land.

“This is fantastic news for Arizonans, and especially for the Southern Arizona veterans and advocates who have championed for this cemetery for more than a decade,” Gov. Brewer stated in a news release. “This grant will help Arizona in our continued mission to properly honor those who have nobly served and sacrificed on our country’s behalf. I thank the Kai Family Foundation for graciously donating this land, as well as everyone involved in this important effort.”

More than half-a-million military veterans live in Arizona, including nearly 135,000 in Pima and surrounding counties.

The first seven to ten-acres will provide for in-ground burials, columbarium and in-ground cremated remains burials. It will also house an administration building, maintenance building, assembly area, committal shelter and parking.

The Kai family, led by Marana Town Councilman Herb Kai and his brother, John Kai Jr., donated the land for a cemetery to the Arizona Department of Veterans Services back on May 31. The property had been in the Kai family since the mid-1940s and is located west of Interstate 10, bordered on the west by North Luckett Road and on the north by the Pinal County line. Luckett Road, currently unpaved leading into the area, will be paved as part of the project.

Construction is expected to begin in July 2014 and should be complete by Oct. of 2015, according to the release.