Post Number: 93
|Posted on Tuesday, January 23, 2007 - 6:32 pm: || |
Kim Kozlowski / The Detroit News
DETROIT -- The local Salvation Army announced today it has received a $50 million grant to build one of the region's largest community centers in one of the city's most impoverished neighborhoods -- the grounds of Chandler Park on the east side.
The Salvation Army must now raise $48 million before it can begin building the center, which will include a 100,000-square-foot building featuring a recreation center, the state's largest indoor water park, athletic fields, classrooms, computer labs and classrooms for performing arts, training and rehearsal.
The gift came from the estate of Joan Kroc, wife of Ray Kroc, who was the founder of McDonald's restaurants and is one of the largest challenge grants given to a Midwestern city to build a community center.
"The Kroc center will not only provide recreation, health and wellness for young people, adults and senior citizens, it will provide hope to many people," said Russ Russell, development director of the Salvation Army Eastern Division. "We truly believe it will be the renaissance for the east side."
A handful of Kroc centers across the country are either in the process of fundraising or building.
The only one that is currently open is the Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in San Diego. In operation for five years, officials say it has been a major catalyst for change.
Before the center opened, the community was economically challenged and on the verge of being forgotten, said administrator Capt. John VanCleef.
Today, home values have caught up with those in the rest of the city, businesses have gone from 30 percent occupancy to 90 percent and more than 2,400 people go to the facility every day.
"It's taken a neighborhood that had a lot of potential and it's helped the neighborhood realize the potential," VanCleef said. "We're not the sole cause for the change but it's definitely been a catalyst to transform people's lives, transform the community, transform the business community."
VanCleef said a Kroc community center will be able to do the same thing in Detroit.
"People have value and potential and they have a place where they can discover that value and realize their potential at the Kroc center," VanCleef said.
Fundraising for the Kroc Center in Detroit is expected to take 18 months, and will be focused on individuals, corporations and foundations. Construction is expected to begin in June 2008.
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pb cs.dll/article?AID=/20070123/U PDATE/701230430