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Feasibility Study Completed for Gypsum Canyon Veterans Cemetery

For immediate release:
Press Release Header for Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk Silva

ANAHEIM, CA – Following more than a decade of community organizing, legislative action, and passionate hard work from a broad coalition of veterans, elected officials, government agencies, and the people of Orange County, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk- Silva and Supervisor Don Wagner today announced the successful completion of the feasibility study for the Gypsum Canyon Veterans Cemetery project commissioned by the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet). This marks a significant step forward in fulfilling the long-awaited promise to provide Orange County Veterans and their families with a permanent and dignified resting place.

“The confirmation of the feasibility of the Gypsum Canyon site is a testament to the persistent efforts of our bipartisan, community-powered coalition,” said Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D – Fullerton). “Together, we are one step closer to providing a final resting place in Orange County for the brave men and women who served our nation in the armed forces.”

Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairman Don Wagner added, “I'm proud to stand alongside our unpreceded coalition of military and veterans organizations and fellow elected officials in announcing the successful completion of CalVet’s Gypsum Canyon Veterans Cemetery feasibility study. This milestone brings us one step closer to our shared goal of honoring our veterans with a permanent resting place right here in Orange County.”

“It’s extremely important for CalVet to collaborate with the Southern California community to serve our veterans and their families, including providing a sacred resting place for them,” said CalVet Secretary Lindsey Sin. “I want to commend everyone for working together to ensure there are options in the state to honor and remember our veterans.”

The most critical information from the feasibility study is that the 100-acre Gypsum Canyon site has been determined to have no obstacles to development, paving the way for continued progress at the site. Notably, the total estimated cost for Phase 1 is $126 million with ongoing coordination across the city, county, state and federal government levels to secure funding sources for the project. Financial pledges of $20 million from the county, $25 million from the state, along with existing Orange County Cemetery District funds, will provide a solid foundation for the project's financial future. Additionally, the state plans to apply to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Cemetery Grant Program later this year, with the expectation of the grant to be awarded in October 2024.

Parallel to the state’s efforts, the county, working in partnership with the Orange County Cemetery District, is finalizing submittals to the City of Anaheim for the site improvements and infrastructure for the project, which is expected to be considered by the Planning Commission and City Council during the first half of 2024.

Orange County is the state’s largest county without a veteran’s cemetery. The unanimous support from all thirty-four cities, as well as the County, and notable endorsements from military and veterans organizations such as the Veterans Alliance of Orange County, American Legion- Department of California, AMVETS, Gold Star Mothers Inc., and Vietnam Veterans of America underscores the widespread commitment to the Gypsum Canyon project.

While the Gypsum Canyon Veterans Cemetery project still has a long road ahead, the future is bright, promising a final resting place that truly honors Orange County’s veterans for their service and sacrifice.

Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva represents the 67th Assembly District, which includes the Orange County communities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Cypress, Fullerton, and La Palma, as well as the Los Angeles County communities of Artesia, Cerritos, and Hawaiian Gardens.