On Monday, September 10, 2018, The Salvation Army Harrisburg Capital City Region hosted an official ground breaking ceremony to begin construction of a new, multi-use Service and Worship center at 506 South 29th Street in Harrisburg. The new facility will allow The Salvation Army to provide vital human services and education programs for children, individuals and families within the organization’s service area of Dauphin, Cumberland, and Perry Counties.
“We have served the Harrisburg area since 1885 and we’ve been at our current location in midtown Harrisburg since 1954. But today is an historic moment for The Salvation Army and our local community,” says Major John Griner, Harrisburg Corps Officer. “Almost 10 years ago, we initiated a comprehensive program study to really understand both current and emerging community needs and how The Salvation Army could address those needs through our programs, services and facilities. In May 2015, we purchased the land, initiated a capital campaign and began the design plan with input from over 100 community members and partner organizations, a true team effort!”
The 38,700 square foot multi-use Salvation Army center will bring transformative change to the corner 29th Street and Rudy Roads, which for many years has been a blighted eyesore, with vacant, dilapidated buildings, a haven for crime and illegal dumping.
The Salvation Army demolished the structures and fenced the site last summer in preparation for construction of a new facility that will include a chapel, multi-purpose room, commercial kitchen, choice shopping food pantry, a family services suite with private intake offices, warehouse and emergency disaster garage. The education wing will include multi-use classrooms for summer, afterschool and pre-K programs for children along with job readiness programs for adults. A nutrition education teaching kitchen, indoor gymnasium and outdoor green space for playgrounds and recreation areas will be used for both youth and family programs.
“We have been working very hard to align our programs to meet community needs such as youth education, adult self-sufficiency mentoring, health and wellness with services such as a choice shopping food pantry and nutrition education,” says Jenny Gallagher Blom, Director of Programs and Operations, The Salvation Army Harrisburg , “We feel strongly that to enact long-term change, you have to engage entire families in meaningful ways. Our new facility will be a game changer in our ability to do just that with more efficient, effective delivery of services.”
More than 75 local individuals, businesses and foundations contributed to The Salvation Army’s capital project including public grants from PA RACP, Impact Harrisburg and Dauphin County Local Share Municipal grant program. However, a significant contribution from Community First Fund, a regional Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) based in Lancaster, helped close the gap in funding the project.
Community First Fund provided The Salvation Army with a $10 million New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation to support the build project. The New Markets Tax Credit Program is a source of funding directed by the US Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, which are allocated by local community development entities, like Community First.
“We selected this project because The Salvation Army provides vital services to those that need it most,” says Dan Betancourt, CEO of Community First Fund. “The programs they offer are critical to eliminating poverty and advancing opportunity. We are very pleased to support their efforts in making this project a reality. ”
Since 2013, Community First Fund has provided $90 million in New Markets Tax Credits to revitalize low-income communities throughout central Pennsylvania. The $10 million NMTC credit presented to The Salvation Army project is the largest single allocation the nonprofit organization has awarded to date.
“We are so grateful to Community First Fund and so many other partners for supporting this project,” says Major Griner. “At The Salvation Army, stewardship of resources entrusted to our care is vitally important to us. That includes a multi-use building design where a classroom for children in a pre-K program can be used for an afterschool arts club for teens or an evening computer class for adults. At the end of the day, however, our campaign theme ‘Transforming Lives Building Legacies’ is about meeting needs of body, mind and spirit for the people we serve – now and in the future.”