State, federal and local officials came together Oct. 14 for the ribbon cutting of the newly renovated Heron Run Apartments on East Commerce Street in Smyrna.

Heron Run Apartments is a 40-unit affordable housing apartment community that was built in the 1980s. The development underwent a complete renovation over the last two years, transforming the outdated buildings into modern, high-quality apartments. The renovations were done by affordable housing developer Green Street Housing.

Improvements to Heron Run include parking lot replacement, construction of a multipurpose building, ADA accessibility, new exterior lighting, landscaping, and a playground. All residents have access to free WiFi. A 50kW ground mount solar array was installed to offset the electricity consumed.

The $7 million project was funded in part by approximately $4 million in construction financing and $1.5 million in long-term financing from the Delaware State Housing Authority's Housing Development Fund.

Green Street Housing Principal David Layfield said the project is a good example of the positive effects of state and federally assisted projects in Delaware and across the nation. Layton said the project gives them the ability to change people's lives.

Sen. Chris Coons touched on the importance that state, federal and local partnerships have on affordable housing.

"We only have affordable, high quality, accessible housing in this country because we have a federal, state and local partnership to welcome it, to celebrate it, to support it," Coons said. "I'm proud to represent a state where we do have a strong record on affordable housing and accessible housing."

Gov. Jack Markell said seeing the changes made at Heron Run has been a highlight of his time as governor of Delaware.

"There's nothing like seeing projects transform from before and after as physical projects but more importantly to see the before and after for people," Markell said. "It's giving people a sense of pride, a sense of community, and it gives them a sense of place where they can raise their families, build their lives and just get on a really good path."

State Rep. Bill Carson thanked everyone involved with the renovation because projects like this don't happen overnight, but take vision and leadership.

Smyrna Mayor Joanne Masten said it's especially important to her as a life-long Smyrna resident that everybody in the town have a nice place to live.

"It may not be a Taj Mahal but over here when I look at this, this is just beautiful," Masten said. "Much of Smyrna's success as a thriving community in which to live, work and prosper is due to the value of the partnerships."