It looks like weather will postpone the opening of the new Northwoods National Cemetery that the Department of Veterans Affairs would like to open west of Rhinelander.
Construction is stopping for this year says John Knapp, Deputy Director at Fort Snelling National Cemetery, which is overseeing the development in the Cassian-Harshaw area.
He says the contractor working on the cemetery is de-mobilizing this week...
"...We're getting the ground to firm up. We still have more items to finish before we complete the cemetery. We have high standards to serve the veteran community there in the Rhinelander area. We want to make sure the cemetery is perfect before we open the gates and have our first burials there. We anticipate that come spring we will be able to complete those checklist items, complete the construction and be able to open and have a dedication ceremony...."
Initially, officials hoped to have the Oneida county facility open this fall.
The new Northwoods National Cemetery will serve more than 38,000 veterans, spouses and eligible children within a 75- mile radius of Rhinelander. The VA purchased the 6-acre property at 4520 Lakewood Road in Harshaw for just under $25,000 in 2015. Wisconsin has only one other VA national cemetery in Milwaukee. There are three state-run facilities.
Phase I will provide nearly 3,400 casket and cremation spaces which should provide enough space for about 10 years.
Knapp says they recently opened another VA National Cemetery in Fargo, North Dakota.