Salvation Army Announces Redevelopment Of Historic Long Beach Property
Latest News | April 1, 2015
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Salvation Army has an enduring image of bell ringers, brass bands and shelter for the down-trodden.
But the Army is much more than that, Lt. Col. Doug Riley said. Riley is the Southern California Divisional commander based in Long Beach, and he helped launch a public capital campaign Wednesday to redevelop the charity’s five acres stretching in both directions from the corner of Long Beach Boulevard and Spring Street.
“The Army has been in Long Beach for 109 years,” he said. “That’s a long time. The port wasn’t opened until six years later… The territorial headquarters are here in Long Beach, the division headquarters are here. We are here to stay.”
The Army is backing that commitment with an investment of as much as $6.5 million in what is expected to be a $10 million capital project to modernize and expand their property. Captain Moy Hernandez, commander of the Long Beach Citadel, said a community needs assessment completed in 2013 started the process.
“Our current citadel was built in the 1960s,” Hernandez said. “It has been well cared for, but is experiencing an increasing number of issues, and it is too small… We are serving 2,000 people a month now, and there is great need.”
Hernandez said that the local Salvation Army has committed $4.5 million from its reserves for the capital project, and already has completed remodeling the annex building on Long Beach Boulevard to house the social services office, Latino ministries and an expanded food pantry. Also completed is a 3,250-square-foot administration building.
Next on the program list is a new 19,000-square-foot recreation center with a gymnasium, teen center and game room. That will allow youth services to expand.
Another project already underway is renovation of the existing community center. The building most recently housed the Community Action Partnership.
Once the renovation is complete, the center will house classrooms, a multi-purpose room, community kitchen, a chapel and a senior center.
“This will be a place where grandparents and children can come to the same location,” Hernandez said. “It will be a community center that is really a center for community.”
The last step in the project is demolishing the current citadel building and replacing it with a 32,400-square-foot soccer/athletic field and a parking lot for the campus.
“The project is financially feasible,” Hernandez said. “In addition to the $4.5 million from the local corps, the Southern California Division has agreed to match all gifts of $25,000 or more up to $1 million. And the territory has agreed to match the division’s support. That means the Army is willing to invest $6.5 million of the needed $10 million today.”
Craig Barto, president and CEO of Signal Hill Petroleum, has agreed to serve as honorary chair of the capital campaign. He said his family has had a connection with the Salvation Army from the family’s time in Iowa.
“This new vision is a testament to the Army’s commitment to the city,” Barto said. “It’s important to know that 82¢ of every dollar the Army receives goes directly to services. This project will revitalize this corner and this neighborhood. I’m excited about this program. It will help make them better able to help the poorest of the poor.”
For more information about the Salvation Army’s services and construction project, call the citadel at (562) 426-7637.