KINGSTON, NY – Ulster County lawmakers have approved a resolution authorizing the expansion of the Ulster County Veterans Cemetery.
At the May 17 meeting of the County Legislature, lawmakers voted 22-2 to issue $2,659,105 in bonds to pay for the new cemetery, which will be located across from the existing Veterans’ Cemetery, which makes part of the rural cemetery of New Paltz.
The new cemetery will accommodate approximately 3,000 burial plots.
Burial in the cemetery is available to all Ulster County veterans and their spouses or dependent children at county expense.
Opponents of the spending said they weren’t against expanding the cemetery, but questioned the increased cost of the project.
“I totally support the Veterans Cemetery…this project is wonderful,” said Legislator Eve Walter, who was one of two legislators to vote against the spending. She said she opposed the price, which went from $270,000 in 2018 to $1.4 million in 2021 and $2.7 million this year.
“There are ways to reduce the amount without losing any of the beauty and benefits,” said Walter, D-New Paltz.
Lawmaker Chris Hewitt, D-Rochester, also voted against the resolution.
Ulster County Executive administration officials Pat Ryan said the original cost estimate of $270,000 was for improvements including building a clubhouse and landscaping the existing veterans cemetery. The $1.4 million award was to cover the cost of building the new cemetery, which will include a pavilion, walkways, decorative fencing and an area for cremains to be interred, administration officials said. They said inflation was the cause of the jump to $2.7 million.
Administration officials said that as the project progresses, the county will work with the developer to identify cost savings through “value engineering.”
A groundbreaking ceremony for the new cemetery is scheduled for Memorial Day.