Idaho leaders visit Kroc Center site

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The Coeur d’Alene center is slated to open in April 2009.

by Stacy Howard –

Work progresses on the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho [Photo by Stan Moe].

Recently, Idaho’s Lt. Gov. James Risch toured the site of Coeur d’Alene Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center. Joining him were his wife Vickie, his staff members, past Lt. Gov. Jack Riggs and his son Peter.

They are just a few of the community leaders and members who have toured the site as it prepares for the grand opening in April 2009.

“Risch told me at the end of the tour that he has toured thousands of buildings but he has seen very few like this Kroc Center that have been so thoughtfully constructed for such a wonderful purpose,’” said Major John Chamness, administrator of the Coeur d’Alene Kroc Center. Chamness said they give at least two tours a day to business leaders, contributors and government officials.

A recent “Kroctober” fundraiser event attracted over 200 people for a building tour and bratwurst meal.

The center was made possible through Joan Kroc’s $1.5 billion gift to The Salvation Army upon her death in 2003; she designated that the money be used specifically for community centers throughout the country. This money the largest charitable gift ever given from an individual to a single organization is funding 30 community centers bearing the Kroc name across the U.S.

Coeur d’Alene is the socioeconomic center of the five northern counties of Idaho. The region is one of the fastest growing areas in the nation, almost doubling its population in 15 years, from 112,686 in 1990 to over 200,000 today.

A large low-income population of families, children and seniors dwells in this rapidly expanding area. Currently the city has no community center, so a Kroc Community Center has the potential to provide hope and opportunity for mental, physical and spiritual growth in addition to recreation programs.

The center will include the corps, a performing arts venue, a leisure and a competitive pool, a multi-activity gymnasium, game room, lounge and reception areas, community wing, indoor play area and party rooms.

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