Local and state officials gathered Aug. 5 at the Smyrna Police Station for a groundbreaking ceremony honoring the start of the police station expansion.

Work on the $3.7 million expansion was expected to begin last year. Demolition of the old public works building, which was next to the Smyrna Police Department on Glenwood Avenue, was done last August. Excavation work has already begun; however, the start of the project has been delayed. The program was expected to be complete by September 2014. The project will now be completed in June 2015.

The groundbreaking ceremony last week featured local, county and state officials including USDA Rural Development officials. The Smyrna Police Station expansion is being paid for through a USDA loan.

USDA Rural Development State Director Dr. Bill McGowan was on hand to kick off the groundbreaking ceremony.

“USDA’s footprint can be found all over this town,” McGowan said. “From essential infrastructure projects that involve extending water to the north side of Duck Creek that will help boost the local economy, to education projects such as Telamon’s new head start facility to be constructed just south of town, to recently renovated rental housing complexes like Heron Run on Commerce Street, we are here today in the heart of Smyrna’s community to highlight public safety. Helping to ensure that rural America remains a safe place to live, work and raise a family is part of what we are called to do at USDA Rural Development. Through the assistance of Rural Development’s programs, emergency and other vital services are being enhanced for more communities.”

U.S. Sen. Tom Carper said the USDA Rural Development loan program is a smart investment in Smyrna.

“Bringing together all of their police officers under one roof will help them coordinate their services to the residents of Smyrna and ultimately do their jobs better. We rely on these men and women to keep us safe, and we owe it to them to provide the facility and tools they need,” Carper said.

Currently police officers are dispersed between the police station on Glenwood Avenue and the Public Works Department on Artisan Drive in the Smyrna Business Park.

The loan is set over a 40-year term and a 3.5 percent interest rate; the budget for the project is $3.7 million with a $300,000 contingency fund. When completed the expanded police station will be approximately 26,000 square feet.

Police Chief Norman Wood said in the 22 years the department has used the police station on Glenwood Avenue, the town’s population has grown from 5,300 to 11,000 residents. As the town has grown, it is now time for the police department to grow, he said.

Mayor Joanne Masten thanked the police offices for persevering throughout the process, the Police Building Committee for its efforts in designing a new facility, Construction Manager Ed Ide and his staff for their work thus far, and of course USDA.

“We couldn’t have done it without the help of USDA. Without their funding we would never have been able to achieve this day,” Masten said.