After a 10-year planning period and a $12 million fundraising drive, the Salvation Army of Harrisburg broke ground Monday on a new regional headquarters, joined by 150 community members, a brass band and elected officials from the local to the federal level.
The 39,000-square-foot facility will house the Salvation Army’s education and human services programs, which reach more than 18,000 adults and children in Dauphin, Perry and Cumberland counties.
“After 132 years of service in Harrisburg, the Salvation Army is writing a new chapter in its book of doing the most good,” said Richard Jordan II, director of the project’s capital campaign. “This project will have an unprecedented, life-changing impact on the community.”
Jordan was one of a dozen stakeholders who spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony on a rainy morning, held under a tent at the construction site on 506 S. 29th St.
The Salvation Army of Harrisburg has maintained a headquarters at 1122 Green St. in Midtown Harrisburg since 1954. Officials began toying with the idea of an expansion 10 years ago, as demand for their services grew, according to Harrisburg corps officer John Griner.
They paid $1.25 million for the seven-acre site, situated at the corner of Rudy Road and S. 29th Street near Kline Village. They razed two dilapidated buildings to make room for new construction.
A three-year fundraising campaign followed, during which time more than 100 donors contributed to the $12 million project.
The bulk of the project’s funding came from a $10 million New Market Tax Credit awarded through the nonprofit lender Community First Fund. The Salvation Army is also eligible for up to $500,000 in construction reimbursements through a state-funded Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant.
The nonprofit Impact Harrisburg granted the project $500,000 in 2016, and Dauphin County contributed a $100,000 gaming grant this year.
Construction plans call for a full-service kitchen, gymnasium, playgrounds and classroom and meeting space. The facility will also house staff offices and a worship center.
Building will continue for 10 to 12 months, and the Salvation Army staff hopes to move out of its Green Street headquarters by September 2019, said Kathy Anderson-Martin, director of resource development at The Salvation Army.
The new headquarters will be command central for all of the Salvation Army’s family services programs, adult self-sufficiency and spiritual ministries. It will also house educational programs for children, including after-school and summer camps and two pre-K classrooms.
More than 2,800 of the Salvation Army’s 18,000 clients are children, according to advisory board chair Jeffrey Piccola.
Mayor Eric Papenfuse, who also spoke at this morning’s ceremony, said that the city is committed to working with the Salvation Army to find an “adaptive reuse” for its current Midtown space. The main building is listed for sale at $560,000.
Papenfuse thanked the Salvation Army for keeping its headquarters in the city and for repurposing a blighted stretch of 29th Street in the process.
“Among this sea of blighted and abandoned buildings, you saw something that will completely transform one of our neighborhoods,” Papenfuse said. “We’re extremely excited that you’re going to be part of the activity that we’re seeing in each and every corner of this city.”