The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs has received a $10 million federal grant to develop a state veterans cemetery in southeastern Minnesota.
The grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will cover the entire cost of the new cemetery.
Fillmore County Commissioner Chuck Amunrud said the county will donate 170 acres of land for the cemetery. The acreage is on the edge of Preston, near the Root River and a popular state bike trail.
"It's land that's been laying idle for decades... very beautiful scenic place, next to the river, very private," Amunrud said. "Really you don't see very many buildings at all in the area. It's very quiet, very serene. It's a perfect setting for a cemetery."
Minnesota is currently home to only one state veterans cemetery, in Little Falls. Veterans can also be buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis.
State, Fillmore County and city leaders have talked about a new state veterans cemetery near Preston for more than five years. Construction is expected to begin this fall.
More than 40,000 living veterans in southern Minnesota, northern Iowa and western Wisconsin will be eligible to be buried in the new cemetery.