When completed, the cemetery will serve all veterans, including the approximately 100,000 veterans and their families that live within the service area of the Central Coast region. The five counties that are within that area are Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito, Santa Clara, and San Luis Obispo.
The estimated interment needs of this veteran population are 5,600 burial and crypt sites for the initial 10-years. The actual interment sites to be provided in this initial phase will be approximately 2,800 burial and crypt sites. The Phase I plan will develop 26 acres of the site and will accommodate cremations in above-ground columbariums. In ground plots are not included in the first phase. At a minimum, the cemetery will provide approximately 11,500 gravesites in its 20-year build-out.
The movement to create a veterans cemetary at the former Fort Ord Army Base began in 1991, a few weeks after the decision was made to close Fort Ord. The cities of Seaside and Marina and the County of Monterey have been strong supporters of the effort which has been partly coordinated through the County Veteran’s Citizen Committee since the late 1990’s.
A beautiful 78.7 acres located on the intersection of Normandy and Parker Flats Roads, the cemetery will serve the burial needs of area veterans for the next 100 years. The overall design intent of the plan is to create a monument to the service and sacrifice of California’s veterans.
The Committal Shelter
The Committal Shelter will provide a location for interment services away from the actual gravesite. In a veterans cemetery, where specific gravesites are not reserved for individuals, the burial area is usually not a suitable location for the committal service. The Committal Shelter will be a quiet, dignified, open, covered pavilion intended to provide temporary shelter from the wind, rain and sun for an interment service in a solemn manner.
An avenue intersecting the Memorial Plaza will connect the plaza with several columbaria (5,000 Niches) lined courts. A Committal Shelter will provide a covered area for final ceremonies prior to interment.
The Columbarium and Cortege
The design for the entry will incorporate walls, signage and ceremonial gates. After entering the cemetery, an Avenue of Flags with a center median flanked by American flags flown on 12-foot flagpoles provides access to memorials and columbarium. Near the main entrance lies the Cemetery’s Administration and Maintenance Complex and a plaza incorporating the State Flag, MIA Flag and the bronze service seals. Visual emphasis of the entry and major intersections will be achieved through the use of interlocking concrete pavers or stamped concrete.
The landscape will feature drought tolerant native trees and shrubs adapted to the local climate. Permanent drip irrigation will be limited to visual focal points, the main cemetery entrance, select areas near the administration complex and committal shelter. A perimeter vinyl-clad chain link fence will enclose portions of the site.
Administration and Maintenance Complex
The Administration building with public restrooms will consist of a single structure (approximately 4,500 sf). The Maintenance building, for this phase, will consist of a small, 1,500 sf structure.