Salvation Army embarking on major move, expansion in Harrisburg

Posted On On: May 22, 2015 Categories Filed Under: Member News

The Salvation Army serving the Harrisburg region is trying to raise $5.5 million so it can triple its space, add programs and move close to the populations it serves.

The Salvation Army Harrisburg Capital City Region has purchased a seven-acre tract at South 29th Street and Rudy Road, and plans to move there from 1122 Green St., where the agency has been located since 1954.

“This has been in the works for several years, but on the other hand it’s just a beginning,” said Kathy Anderson-Martin, director of philanthropy.

The total project will cost about $9 million, with a goal of raising $5.5 million from the community, she said.

A recent program study concluded that “midtown is no longer the place for us to be,” she said, as that neighborhood has become more of a commercial and office area, rather than residential.

“To have something with green space, educational classrooms and a gym where we can make a major impact with kids we already have a relationship with would be ideal,” she said.

The move “will transform something that is now a vacant block into a wonderful community center,” Anderson-Martin said, adding the site is close to subsidized housing communities and schools, and on a central bus route.

It will offer more space for after-school programs, and also have room for a new pre-K program, Anderson-Martin said. A pre-K program is “a real significant need,” she said, and will be piloted this summer in a Steelton church. There will be computer labs, and the facility will serve adults as well as children.

The new location, purchased for $1.25 million, has three vacant buildings: a former Weis Market, pharmacy and restaurant. They will provide about 50,000 square-feet of space, compared with the 17,000 square feet on Green Street.

  • The grocery building will be renovated and expanded to serve as the main educational and service space.
  • The pharmacy will be razed, and a new building with a gym and community space will be built. That will offer space not only for food distribution, but emergency shelter, disaster staging and donation storage.
  • The restaurant could be put into use for feeding programs, as well as cooking and nutrition classes.

Here are some Salvation Army stats:

  • The Salvation Army serves 22,336 residents, including 2,700 children at 20 different sites across the city.
  • The clientele is up 31 percent from five years ago.
  • Youth served has nearly tripled, with 2,732 now served, compared to 1,000 five years ago.

The new building will provide a centralized location for services, room for new programs and green space for outdoor activities.

“Youth programs is one of the most important areas of service, because of the needs of youth in Harrisburg,” Anderson-Martin said. “Here in Harrisburg we put a lot of resources into kids. Outreach to youth is key.”

The Salvation Army hopes to raise the funds as soon as possible, she said, and announced the capital campaign last week. Opening of the new center “is probably a couple of years out,” she said.

“Here in Harrisburg we put a lot of resources into kids. Outreach to youth is key,” she said, to helping Harrisburg solve its problems.

Among the programs at the Salvation Army are food and clothing donations, holiday distributions, a breakfast program, youth and adult educational programs, family education, and networking for women.

The Salvation Army Harrisburg Capital City Region serves not only Dauphin County, but Perry County and eastern Cumberland County.

To contribute to the capital campaign, call the Salvation Army at 717-233-6755 ormake an online donation.