The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) dedicated a new columbarium in Indianapolis, allowing VA to conduct new interments of veterans and eligible family members in the city for the first time since 1959.
VA Deputy Secretary Donald Remy and VA Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Matt Quinn unveiled the dedication plaque for the cremains-only expansion to Crown Hill National Cemetery.
The columbarium, which will cover 15 acres of ground, is expected to serve a population of more than 214,000 veterans, their spouses and eligible children within a 75-mile radius of Indianapolis. It is an annex to the nearby historic Crown Hill National Cemetery, which opened in 1866 and contains just over 2,000 gravesites on 2.5 acres.
The cemetery is located inside the boundaries of the privately-owned Crown Hill Cemetery. It reached full capacity and was closed to most interments in 1959, though subsequent interments of family members in the same gravesite have taken place since then.
Construction on the first phase of the columbarium began June 2021 at a cost of $15.75 million and provides more than 3,400 above-ground columbarium niches for inurnments and space for more than 370 memorial plaques. Subsequent phases will be completed in coming decades until the final planned capacity of more than 36,000 niches is reached.