By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Pennsylvania State Police will be getting a new Philadelphia barracks on Belmont Avenue, right next to the current one, which has more than a few issues.

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At today’s groundbreaking ceremonies, state police commissioner Frank Noonan said he didn’t expect Mayor Nutter to choose their ceremony over his trip to Rome to woo Pope Francis to Philadelphia.

“The pope can forgive sins, and I can just write tickets,” Noonan said with a smile.

Col. Noonan says the dilapidated conditions at the Troop K barracks, built in 1949, were well known. He recalls his first visit, when a commander showed him around:

“I said, ‘What are these mops and galoshes for?’ He said, ‘Colonel, they’re mine, because whenever it rains the sewage backs up.’ ”

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The new, $18-million facility will go up on the lawn and parking lot next to the current building, according to state Department of General Services secretary Sheri Phillips.

“And then we’ll be tearing down and remediating the site where the old building is.’

The new Belmont barracks is expected to be finished in the spring of 2015.


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