- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 12, 2014

FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) - The opening of the planned $50 million U.S. Marshals Museum in Fort Smith has been pushed back a year until 2017.

The U.S. Marshals Museum Board initially planned to open the museum in 2016, but museum president and CEO Jim Dunn said Tuesday that it will take longer to build the facility along the Arkansas River.

“This is stretched out longer than I thought, and perhaps I was naive in thinking we could build a 50,000-square-foot building by 2016,” Dunn told museum board members Tuesday.

Groundbreaking for the facility is still set for Sept. 24.

“This train has left the station. This museum will be built,” fundraising consultant Richard Dressner told the board.

Museum officials had raised about $14 million for the museum as of last December, according to the Southwest Times Record (http://bit.ly/1cx2Y8o ). Officials also anticipate receiving $8 million from a federal tax credit program and up to $5 million from the sale of commemorative U.S. Mint coins marking the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Those coins are set to go on sale Jan. 1, 2015.

Also Tuesday, the museum announced that a $100,000 gift from Lisenne Rockefeller - the widow of the late Lt. Gov. Winthrop Paul Rockefeller - will fund a three-year lecture series at the museum.

The museum said the gift will allow it to bring speakers from the executive, judiciary and legislative branches of the U.S. government to Fort Smith to speak about the marshals’ history as it connects to each branch. Each program will be free and open to the public.

“This museum will serve to perpetuate our respect for the men and women who risk their lives in service to this country each and every day,” Rockefeller said. “We are honored to support them through such an important institution.”

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Information from: Southwest Times Record, http://www.swtimes.com/

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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