June 8, 2015 |
Since the Salvation Army began serving on Camden's front lines in 1880, perhaps 100 commanding officers have headed the city corps. But the arrival of Majors Terry and Susan Wood and the departure of Majors Paul and Alma Cain is big news for the city and region. The reason is the $90 million, 120,000-square-foot Camden Kroc Center, a magnificent complex of recreational, human service, and worship facilities that has attracted 7,000 members - and a visit from President Obama - since opening in October.
December 27, 2014 |
After almost three months of delays, the water park at Camden's Kroc Center is expected to be fully operational Friday, in time for local kids' winter school vacations. The Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, a $90 million building on Harrison Avenue that is run by the Salvation Army, opened in early October with much fanfare after nine years of planning. But until this week, bureaucratic holdups had prevented the center from using the 11,000-square-foot indoor water park's splash buckets, fountains, water slide, and other features.
October 4, 2014 |
Maj. Paul Cain led the group of chatty Camden dignitaries and journalists into the immense, 8,000-square-foot indoor waterpark, complete with a lime-green waterslide rising out of a clear pool toward a 60-foot-high vaulted glass ceiling. For a moment, the talking ceased as awestruck visitors raised their phones to snap photos of Camden's newest neighbor. The Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, a 120,000-square-foot community center nine years in the making, officially opens Saturday on Harrison Avenue with a celebratory festival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a ribbon-cutting at 6 p.m. There is no residency requirement to join, and memberships start at $25 a month for a family of four or $15 a month for a single.
April 16, 2014 |
The first time I saw Camden's Harrison Avenue landfill, it had been closed for years. It was also on fire. I'd been dispatched by an editor to check on a report that the grass atop the toxic tundra of buried trash was ablaze again. And so it was, on a hot afternoon in the late 1970s. Last week, I returned to Harrison Avenue to tour the $68 million Salvation Army Kroc Center, which is on schedule for an Oct. 4 ribbon-cutting ceremony. The project's cost includes $21 million for 34 acres of site remediation work by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
March 25, 2011 |
Sometimes the most familiar-looking works of architecture produce the most radical results. Such is the case with the Salvation Army's Kroc Center, which opened its doors this winter in one of those hollowed-out, industrial-era exclusion zones that pockmark so much of North Philadelphia. Driving by on a dreary, underpopulated stretch of Wissahickon Avenue, you might not recognize the Kroc Center as a brand-new building; from the road, it appears that ordinary. If you bothered to give the low-slung, sandy-colored brick structure more than a glance, its exact function might not be apparent either.
October 16, 2010
The Salvation Army will celebrate a milestone today as it cuts a ceremonial ribbon to open its $72 million Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in one of the most blighted areas of North Philadelphia. It's a coup not only for residents of the Nicetown community, but also for all the partners who helped raise $30 million in local matching funds to bring the ambitious project to fruition. Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald's restaurant founder Ray Kroc, gave the Salvation Army $1.5 billion to build similar centers around the country.
August 27, 2010 |
In little more than a month, it will be possible to swim in an indoor water park, learn to dance, whip up a torte, earn a GED, work on six-pack abs, or picnic with a couple hundred friends - all in one of the most blighted industrial areas in the city. The $72 million Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, set to open Oct. 16, is unmatched in scale by any other Salvation Army facility on the East Coast. At 130,000 square feet, the center sits on a 12.4-acre brownfield tract that was the home of the Budd Co., the proposed site for a casino, and, most recently, a city auto impound lot. By Thursday, construction crews had only finishing touches to add to the structure, in the 4200 block of Wissahickon Avenue in Philadelphia's Nicetown section.
May 24, 2010
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.
June 20, 2009 |
The Salvation Army may be having trouble completing the funding for its ambitious Kroc community centers elsewhere, but here in Philadelphia, things are moving along just fine. After a seven-month lull, fund-raising is picking up, construction is under way, and an October 2010 grand opening is set for the $129.5 million project being built in Nicetown. Funded largely by a bequest from McDonald's heiress Joan Kroc, the Philadelphia center has had its own struggle with fund-raising - but the donations this spring have enabled work to proceed, according to Salvation Army officials.
October 2, 2008 |
For decades, the residents of Camden's Cramer Hill section have seen an overgrown tract of land along Harrison Avenue. The riverfront property was where the city dumped municipal waste from 1952 to 1971. But yesterday, neighbors and officials got a look at the future when the same 24 acres become home to the $36 million Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, scheduled to open in 2010. In a rendering, unveiled in a sports field across the street, the site's tangled brush and trees were replaced by the Salvation Army-run facility, which will provide recreational, health, educational, cultural, family and spiritual programming.