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Mayor Richard M. Daley joined Salvation Army officials and community members today to break ground for the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, which will provide social services daily to an estimated 2,500 residents of the West Pullman neighborhood when it is completed in two years.
“It is one of the real strengths of our city that we are able to forge partnerships that lead to a better quality of life for all of our residents. Both the city and the Salvation Army share a commitment to helping Chicagoans in need,” Daley said in a news conference at the Center site, 1250 W. 119th St.
“This is an important project for this ward and the West Pullman neighborhood and for the entire city,” he said.
Construction of the Center was made possible by a bequest of $1.5 billion from the estate of Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, to The Salvation Army (TSA).
In 2006, TSA selected the West Pullman Community Area site after considering 27 sites throughout Chicago.
TSA paid the appraised market value --$4,030,000 -- to purchase the approximately 32 acres of land from the City for the development, construction and the operation of the Community Center.
The City has approved an allocation of New Market Tax Credits of up to $20 million and is making a significant contribution toward paying the costs of the environmental clean-up of the property.
Daley said the construction of the Center is a “tremendous success” for Brownfield redevelopment in Chicago. The property had heavy industrial uses from at least 1939 to 1988 and the soils were heavily contaminated.
Building the 160,000-square foot Center will provide about 200 construction jobs. The Center will also provide approximately 184 permanent jobs after it opens.
The Center will host programs and activities such as Family and Life Education, will have an auditorium and chapel, a fitness center, a location for worship and spiritual education and outdoor space. It will be LEED-certified under the guidelines of the U.S. Green Building Council.
“For many years, the Salvation Army has been a big part of our city’s success, supporting people in need and helping them rebuild their lives. That commitment to Chicago has improved the quality of life of all our residents and adds to the spiritual core of our community,” the Mayor said.
“In the city we often talk about rebuilding our schools, libraries, police and fire stations as well as our infrastructure. But we also strive to rebuild lives. And the Salvation Army has been our ally in that battle,” he said.
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