The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs approved a new veterans cemetery southwest of US 550 between the Enchanted Hills subdivision and Northwest Loop on Thursday morning.

The cemetery will be approximately 200 acres, according to City of Rio Rancho records. The property is in Rio Rancho city limits, but the State Land Office owns it.

Sandoval County has been working to bring the cemetery to the county for the past three years, said Commissioner Jay Block, District 2.

“As the only veteran on the commission, this is very heart-warming news. We are going to have a national cemetery here in Sandoval County where we can bury our veterans and their families,” he said.

Sandoval County submitted an expression of interest to the VA in February 2017.

“This is going to be an incredibly beautiful final resting place to our nation’s veterans,” Block said.

County financial advisor Rob Burpo has been heavily involved in this process, he said.

Burpo told county commission Thursday evening that final surveying of the site is being done and the sale to the VA will close on no later than Jan. 31, 2021. But he hopes to be able to close this year.

No further details about the cemetery were available at press time. The Observer will provide more information as it becomes available.

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Assistant Editor at Rio Rancho Observer