Staff Reporter 

Veterans cemetery receives $3.5 million grant from Veteran Affairs


Last updated 7/29/2020 at 9:31am

Drew Lawson

The Washington Veterans Cemetery on Espanola Road northwest of Medical Lake is slated to receive $3.5 million in grant funding from the Department of Veteran Affairs.

MEDICAL LAKE-A year ago, leadership at the Washington Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Medical Lake applied for some grant money from the Department of Veteran Affairs. On July 17, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers announced via press release that the cemetery's grant had been approved, totaling $3.5 million.

"The Washington State Veterans Cemetery provides a final resting place for the brave men and women who answered the call of service," McMorris Rodgers said in the press release. "Anyone who has visited knows how beautiful, humbling, and special the cemetery is."

The funding for the cemetery, which serves over 55,000 veterans and eligible family members per the press release, will be used to aide in the cemetery's phased development, according to cemetery director Rudy Lopez.

"What we're getting is another 10 years' worth of capacity in caskets," Lopez said. "This next grant, we'll come out and add another 1,010 vaults (for caskets), which roughly will give us 10 years capacity."

The development from this most recent grant will primarily occur in the field north of the visitor's center and extend toward the large flagpole at the north end of the cemetery. In addition to the over 1,000 vaults for caskets, Lopez said space for 2300 in-ground plots for urns will be utilized.

There will also be an interior road constructed, running from the west side of the previously mentioned field to the flagpole.

"Little by little, we're just developing the property," Lopez said.

Lopez said the cemetery has capacity to meet current demand. He added that the cemetery has been fortunate enough to not suffer many economic consequences as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic due to state funding, reimbursement money from the feds and income generated from military license plates, which are sold statewide.

"That's a primary revenue source for us," Lopez said. "It allows us to maintain this facility which, by the way, is part of essential workforce. We've been here throughout the entire pandemic."

– Drew Lawson can be reached at


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