A center of activity

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As quietly as a $100 million project can proceed, Augusta's proposed Kroc Center is doing just that - in some ways even more ambitious than first planned.

The center, one of many around the country funded by a $1.5 billion gift to the Salvation Army by McDonald's founder Ray Kroc's widow Joan upon her death in 2003, will be a mix of recreational, cultural, humanitarian and entrepreneurial facilities in a campus off Broad Street in Harrisburg near the Augusta Canal.

The plan has been approved and money set aside; now the Salvation Army regional executives are reviewing the "program study" prepared for the site. Local director Maj. Chip Hall told the "Tuesday Roundtable" forum yesterday that program approval could come within six months or so, but that all along, plans are already being made to hire a center director, a business plan consultant and a financial feasibility company.

"We're right on track," Hall told the group. "In relation to other Kroc facilities around the country, we're about where they are."

Except for one thing: Hall thinks Augusta's campus could be a model facility.

It's certainly ambitious, with a 600-seat theater and fine arts classrooms; a 350-seat chapel; adult education and computer lab space; indoor and outdoor recreational space to be joined in by the Boys and Girls Club; and an "enterprise park" for skills training that will include teen and adult learning opportunities and even retail and banquet space.

What makes the facility plans unique, Hall said, is the extent of partnerships the Salvation Army has formed with other area nonprofits, including the United Way, Junior Achievement and many more. Fact is, he said, for its size, Augusta has the third-most number of nonprofits in the country.

The Kroc Center can help them coalesce: One of the features of the center is a one-stop shop for clients of local humanitarian agencies.

Plans have changed somewhat in the past year to shift from the Head Start program to child care for single parents who can't get jobs without it. The program study also found that adult fitness needed to be addressed, so such facilities have been added to the plan, Hall said.

Hall is most excited about the enterprise park, with its potential for skills and leadership training - teaching folks to fish, as it were.

Then again, there's a lot to be excited about in this project.

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HillGuy
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HillGuy 05/02/07 - 01:11 am
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But, it's in Disgusta..

But, it's in Disgusta..

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
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ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 05/02/07 - 08:57 am
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It finally sounds like

It finally sounds like someone is using their head for something besides a hat rack. I think it's a great idea to put all these services in one place, to simplify things for people really in need.

THESOUTHLOST
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THESOUTHLOST 05/02/07 - 10:47 am
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I say, put it where the

I say, put it where the Regency Mall building is. Tear that building down. It will then be in the center of the county and on the bus line.

HillGuy
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HillGuy 05/02/07 - 03:42 pm
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The Regency Mall location

The Regency Mall location would not be convenient for the vast majority of people who will use the Kroc Center... the inner city poor. I wish people would stop saying we need to do something with the Regency Mall. The place has private owners. I say city needs to make them clean up the property or tear it down.

coco rubio
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coco rubio 05/02/07 - 08:05 pm
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this will be a major positive

this will be a major positive for the harrisburg area and will hopefully foster more positives.......yes, of course, it's in augusta.....but, it's not a richmond county -vs- columbia county thing......it's a let's make our city a better place thing....dig?

Leve Tab La
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Leve Tab La 05/02/07 - 10:59 pm
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well said coco.

well said coco.

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 05/02/07 - 11:39 pm
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hear,hear, coco, HillGuy has

hear,hear, coco, HillGuy has something stuck in his craw over Augusta. He likes that Discusta line, but never adds a positive response. I guess that's part of our 'diversity' program.

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