Nicetown has indeed faced its share of challenges ("What killing says about Nicetown," May 17). It is precisely the type of neighborhood Joan Kroc envisioned could be turned around with the presence of a community center offering academic, vocational, recreational, and social opportunities. That is one of the reasons Nicetown was awarded the building of a Salvation Army Kroc Center in 2006, the only center to be constructed in Pennsylvania. The 130,000-square-foot center will serve 1,000 people a day when it opens in mid-October. It will create $21.8 million in economic activity and support 450 jobs annually. The Kroc Center also has the power to unite Nicetown with East Falls, Manayunk, Roxborough, Tioga, and Germantown, as families and individuals participate in swim competitions, join the fitness center, host celebrations, and contribute to the rebuilding of a community.
Private individuals, businesses, the city, and the state have all contributed to the $30 million building and endowment campaign. If the Salvation Army can raise the final $3.3 million and reach $29 million by Sept. 30, the Kresge Foundation will contribute the last million dollars. We encourage the public to participate in this single largest investment in human services in North Philadelphia's history. Information is available at www.salvationarmyphiladelphia.org.