In April of 2023, JEO was awarded a contract by the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs (NDVA) to undertake an expedited Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Grand Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery.
The City of Grand Island had previously submitted a grant application to the National Cemetery Association (NCA) to improve and expand the existing Grand Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery. Although their initial application was unsuccessful, the NDVA was granted a second opportunity to seek funding in the spring of 2023, provided the complete project application was submitted by August 15. The NDVA successfully met all stipulated requirements and received notification on September 28 that they would be granted nearly $8.4 million to establish the Nebraska Veterans Cemetery at Grand Island.
Given the tight timeline, JEO had to act quickly and efficiently to complete all aspects of the EA. Typically, an EA would take an average of six to nine months. In this case, the timeframe was condensed to approximately 90 days to conduct the review and obtain an approved EA and a Finding of No Significant Impacts (FONSI).
A significant portion of these 90 days was allocated to a 30-day public comment period, allowing the public to review the proposed project and provide feedback or comments.
The project proceeded at an accelerated pace, involving simultaneous dispatch of numerous correspondence requests, scheduling of fieldwork, and multiple JEO staff members working on different parts of the document simultaneously.
The NDVA officially endorsed the Final EA and FONSI on August 2, 2023, and the NCA approved the entire environmental package on August 4, 2023, 11 days ahead of the submission deadline.
With grant funding secured, the upcoming expansion and enhancements at the Grand Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery will have a profound impact on the community, offering a dignified final resting place for Nebraska veterans.
The groundbreaking for this project took place on Friday, November 10.