01/26/14 — Design firm closing in on contract for cemetery

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Design firm closing in on contract for cemetery

By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 26, 2014 1:50 AM

A design firm could be under contract as early as next week to create the plans for the new state Veterans Cemetery planned for the Long's Plant Farm Road area just east of Goldsboro.

Those construction designs could be ready by September and the project put out to bid by October or November, said Eli Panee, cemetery program manager with the N.C. Division of Veterans Affairs.

The cost could range between $3.8 million and $4.5 million, with construction taking 8 to 11 months and completion date set for early fall 2015, Panee said.

Overall, it is a simple plan, he said.

The site will have five employees, two in administration and three grounds personnel, all of whom will be state employees.

As advertised, the design will be for a new cemetery on about 80 acres including office building, committal shelter, maintenance building and equipment storage yard, burial area for caskets and cremations, a columbarium (where cinerary urns are placed), road and drive network and landscaping.

It also includes concept plans, boundary and topographic surveys, geotechnical reports, environmental assessments and archeological surveys.

The state has appropriated $600,000 for the project.

The cemetery will be built and maintained by the state utilizing a $6 million federal grant from the Veterans Cemetery Grants Service Agency.

"We are really at the very beginning stage of the project," Panee said. "We have identified the design firm that we want to hire. We had 15 applicants, and we narrowed it down to five to interview. Now we are working to get them under contract."

Panee said he could not announce the company's name until the contract has been signed.

"I think the nice things is that this design firm we have looked at, they already have designed two state cemeteries," he said. "They have excellent experience."

The company has worked on state and federal projects so it is familiar with, and understands, the requirements associated with the cemetery project, Panee said.

Wayne County Attorney Borden Parker is finishing up the paperwork needed to transfer the property to the state, Panee said.

The county purchased two tracts of land for $468,862 from Harry and Mollie (Ivey) LLC, a Goldsboro real estate investment firm managed by Ted E. Ivey and Robert W. Ivey.

The Wayne Development Alliance has also donated 26.3 acres it owns to the project.

One of the Ivey tracts is 14.49-acre and is located on the west side of Long's Plant Farm Road. The second tract of 35.74 acres is located on the east side of the road and adjoins the land donated by Development Alliance.