MERRILL - People keep asking Northwoods veterans officers the same question.
When will the new national cemetery near Rhinelander open?
At an information session in Merrill on Wednesday, the VA said design plans are about 35 percent done. But a John Knapp, a VA representative, couldn't give a timeline on when construction might start or finish.
He said it depends on the contractor, the weather, and approval from the VA.
"Our standards are quite high. These are national shrines for our nation's veterans. They're hallowed ground," Knapp said. "In order for us to accept a final product, we have very high standards."
By 2021, the VA wants to have a national cemetery within 75 miles of 95 percent of American veterans.
"In Rhinelander, Wisconsin, this is one area that has that large veteran population. We want to make sure that we provide a burial option for those veterans," Knapp said.
The cemetery, which doesn't have a name yet, will join more than 130 national cemeteries when finished.
The final design should be presented to the VA in May or June.
"Especially in this region, the veteran population here, as well as all of the stakeholders in the community, [is] very excited, just as much as we are to bring something," said Knapp. "We find a lot of organizations and even individuals that are very helpful in making sure that we navigate to success."
The VA also hosted information sessions in Eagle River and Rhinelander on Wednesday.