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.
February 10, 2006 |
When Joan Kroc died in 2003, the McDonald's heiress left $1.6 billion to the Salvation Army. Yesterday, $57 million was earmarked to build and operate a community center in Camden. With $77 million for a previously announced center in Philadelphia, that's $134 million for the region. Philadelphia and Camden were among 30 Eastern cities seeking funding to build community centers in honor of McDonald's founder Ray Kroc and his wife. Six other cities have also been awarded grants.
February 6, 2004 |
Anyone who still doubts that women should rule the world need only consider the late Joan Kroc. Her estate just gave $1.5 billion to the Salvation Army, the largest donation ever to a single charity. It's not that male tycoons don't give lots of money, and with open hearts. The charitable foundation created by Microsoft's Bill Gates, for example, has pledged or donated away an astounding $23 billion. But Kroc, Brooke Astor, and other ladies who have inherited big piles from the men in their lives seem to have their own special style of giving it away.
January 21, 2004 |
TATTLE WILL hear no cracks about Mariah Carey's career. When the songbird's big arena tour didn't sell as well as expected, she made an adjustment to play more intimate venues. Now msnbc.com's "The Scoop" says Carey has gone back to performing before a big crowd, aligning herself with a big payday - singing for 10,000 chiropractors. Mariah was the headliner at a Las Vegas Hilton convention for the specialists, where celebs included Marilu Henner ("Taxi") and Jerry Lewis.