The City of Belton is one step closer to a new memorial honoring the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers.

At a ceremony Tuesday morning, members of Leadership Belton, the Belton Police Department, the the City Council broke ground on a planned 35-foot diameter memorial in honor of Belton officers past and present and will bear the name of Deputy Albertus Sweet, who was killed in the line of duty on December 9, 1881.

Speaking before a crowd gathered outside the extended police station on 2nd Avenue, Mayor Marion Grayson said the memorial will also serve as welcome signage, and that she hopes no other names ever need to be added to it.

"Hopefully it just ends up being a wonderful place to sit and enjoy this beautiful community," she said.

Belton Police Chief Gene Ellis thanked Leadership Belton for making the memorial their 2016 project. The memorial was unanimously approved by the City Council in December of 2015 as part of the police station expansion project. However, the memorial was estimated to cost around $90,000, so plans were put on the shelf.

Leadership Belton members revived the project with help from the City, Belton Rotary Club, the Belton Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association, and Grand Avenue Theater - all of whom contributed almost $50,000 in donations and materials.

The memorial - designed by Leo Camdon of Fine Line Design and Build - will consist of two curved concrete walls, one of which will read "City of Belton Police Department". The United States, Texas, City of Belton, and Belton Police Department flags will fly above the memorial, which will be divided in half by a sidewalk.

Businesses or individuals interested in helping fund the memorial can send a check made payable to the Community Foundation of Rotary Club of Belton to Bell County Museaum Curator Emily Dossman at P.O. Box 1381, Belton, TX, 76513. Checks should include Belton Police Memorial on the memo line. Donations can also be made by credit card at the Chamber of Commerce, 412 E. Central Ave.

For more information about the memorial and how you can help, visit the Belton Police Memorial Facebook page or email beltonpolicememorial@gmail.com.