Bill would mandate grass in veterans cemeteries |

Bill would mandate grass in veterans cemeteries

Assemblyman Mark Manendo, D-Las Vegas, asked the Assembly Government Affairs committee Thursday to pass legislation requiring grass over burial plots in the state’s two veterans’ cemeteries.

Manendo said the intent is to have real grass over and immediately surrounding the burial plots. He said xerascaping is fine for common areas and other parts of the cemeteries.

But Veterans Affairs director Tim Tetz proposed an amendment that would allow him to use “suitable substitutes” instead of turf grass ” including artificial turf.

Assemblyman David Bobzien, D-Reno, said he wants some language so the suitable substitute doesn’t “end up being Astro-turf.”

Tetz assured him artificial turf won’t be used until it is practically indistinguishable from real grass.

“It’s not there yet but it’s close,” he said.

He said after the meeting that his concern is the cost not only to maintain grass but the rising cost of water to keep them green.

Tetz said water cost $27,707 at the Fernley cemetery in fiscal 2008 and $119,686 at the Boulder City cemetery. He said the projected costs this fiscal year are $47,246 at Fernley and $143,000 at Boulder City.

He said his amendment would provide that grass isn’t required until veterans’ remains are interred in an area of the cemetery.

Committee Chairman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-Las Vegas, said artificial turf might not be cost effective because it costs triple what grass costs to install. Tetz said following the hearing that the federal government would probably cover that cost.

“But they won’t pay ongoing costs,” he said.

The two cemeteries are the only state-operated veterans’ cemeteries in Nevada. There are now about 5,500 veterans buried in Fernley and 23,000 in Boulder City.

Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.