South Bethany readies for big move

South Bethany police are getting ready for their big move, as the completion of construction for the town’s new police station nears.
Coastal Point • RUSLANA LAMBERT: Work on the new South Bethany Police Department facility is progressing along on schedule.Coastal Point • RUSLANA LAMBERT:
Work on the new South Bethany Police Department facility is progressing along on schedule.

Councilwoman Marge Gassinger, who heads the town’s committee overseeing the construction, said this week that the estimated move-in date for the new police facility is June 9. All the construction work at the site remains on schedule, she said, pleasantly surprised that the large project was still on track after months of work.

“These guys are great,” she added, praising the construction crew that has been building the new police station and preparing the ground for a new town hall.

June 9 could also be a big moving day for town hall staff, as they are due to temporarily relocate their offices to the former police building once the police have made themselves at home in the new South Bethany Police Department.

Gassinger said she expects town staff to start their move the same day or shortly thereafter, which will then clear the way for demolition of the existing town hall.

The councilwoman didn’t wax poetic about the small building that has housed the town’s operations for nearly 30 years, instead sharing her excitement about the elegant new paint scheme for the new town hall. Most have, in fact, looked forward to a new town hall with more space and updated facilities as the existing building has reached its capacity and begun to look dated.

South Bethany Town Hall was built with a federal grant that was obtained in 1977, on property off Evergreen Road that was donated by one of the town’s original families, through Mrs. Richard Hall.

It, and the police department, serve approximately 1,387 properties — fewer than 175 of them vacant — and a year-round population estimated at between 600 and 1,000, depending on the source. Many thousands more visit the town each summer, picking up parking tags and other important documents at town hall.

The town hall is also home to the monthly meetings of the town council, which have oftentimes neared capacity in recent years. Those meetings will temporarily relocate to Ocean View’s town hall during the period of construction for the new South Bethany Town Hall.

Meetings on June 8, July 13, Aug. 10 and Sept. 14 will be held in Ocean View, with a return to town hall anticipated in time for the October meeting, at which point construction there is due to be completed.

Town offices have remained open during the construction, but, due to safety reasons, areas of construction have been off limits to the general public. Parking has also been very limited during construction.

That is all expected to change this fall, when construction workers will clean up any remaining debris, remove the former South Bethany police station from the site and make way for a celebration of the new town hall facility. Council members allotted funds for a grand-opening bash in their 2008-fiscal-year budget, wanting to open up the new town hall with a bang.