Bill written to bring state veteran cemetery to Sioux Falls

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - South Dakota is one of five states in the country that does not have a state veteran cemetery, but that could be changing.
A bill was just dropped Friday in Pierre that brings this idea one step closer to becoming a reality.

Each one of these markers is a reminder of how much veterans give to serve their country.

"These guys, like my son, gave the ultimate sacrifice. We can do these kinds of things. So we can have the nice things here. They have deserve every benefit that they can get," Sioux Falls City Councilor Rex Rolfing said.

If a military member from South Dakota wants to be buried a veterans cemetery their closest options are Sturgis and Minneapolis.

"A lot of times not able to take advantage of it because it's too far," Rolfing said.

That means they miss out on a free burial and being laid to rest with their brothers in arms.

"You know they clamp on each other right now because they've been through so many similar things together, and know, that they've got to stay together to stay alive," Rolfing said.

That's why the South Dakota Veterans Council is working to bring a state veterans cemetery to Sioux Falls.

"I think there's over 40,000 veterans within a 75-mile radius," President Terry Paulsen said.

But it will take a joint effort from the city, the state, and the federal government to make it happen.

The city is giving the state a 40 acre plot of land near the I-29 and I-90 interchange.

Senate bill 91 would set aside $600,000 to assess the property and ensure it can support the project.

And the South Dakota veterans council is working with the federal government to get a grant to pay the entire 6 million dollar cost to build the cemetery.

At that point when it's done they will reimburse the $600,000 to the state and then the state is responsible for the app keep in the operations

The South Dakota veterans council tried to build a state veterans cemetery 20 years ago.
They restarted this process again two years ago and are hopeful that this time the project will go forward.