West opens 4th Kroc Center
New center opens to thousands.
by Sue Schumann Warner –
The West’s fourth—and newest—Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center held its grand opening in Oregon’s capitol city of Salem, attended by over 7,000 visitors who streamed in, curious and eager, wanting to see all the $40 million facility has to offer.
They were not disappointed.
After 14 months of construction—and five years of comprehensive planning—Joan Kroc’s generosity revealed itself in a magnificent center, ideally suited to meet the significant needs of this community.
Called “a bastion of hope” by Commissioner Philip Swyers, “a treasure” by Oregon Governor Ted Kulingoski and “a dream come true” by Executive Committee Chair Gerry Frank—who also coined the word “krocking” to describe the act of going to the Kroc Center—the word most often on people’s lips seemed to be “awesome!”
And awesome it is.
From the climbing wall, competition pool, and fitness center to the amphitheater, classrooms and chapel/theater, and more, it clearly is a place of opportunity.
Ideally situated on 10.6 acres in NE Salem, adjacent to an industrial park and bordered by a 22-acre city-owned nature park, it is “within a three-mile radius of the highest concentration of low-income families in the state,” noted Executive Director Major Donna Ames.
State Representative Brian Clem, whose district includes the Kroc Center, believes it will completely transform the area.
On Monday September 28, its doors opened for business with a full range of programs and opportunities designed, explained Marion/Polk County Coordinator Major Jerry Ames, “to promote wellness, encourage excellence, build character and inspire faith.”
Joan Kroc’s daughter, Linda Ardell Wendfelt, represented her family at the dedication service and thanked the Army and the community for its generous support. “My mother’s middle name was compassion,” she said. “Her generosity is legend now. On her behalf, I thank you. Together you have all done God’s work.”