A classy project

Published 10:28 pm Friday, September 23, 2011

When it comes to the new community center that the Salvation Army of Suffolk plans to build next to its headquarters at 400 Bank St., there’s plenty of reason for the community to feel pride.

There are plans for the new building to have basketball courts, a computer room, three classrooms and a wellness center. The Salvation Army envisions it as a place for community programs, after-school resources and programs to promote physical and spiritual health.

None of this has been built yet, because the organization is still raising funds for the project. But with the announcement that the Landmark Foundation had made a donation of $200,000 to the effort, the organization has reached 92 percent of its goal and has the end finally in sight.

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Major donors have included Landmark and the Obici Healthcare Foundation, Birdsong Peanuts, the Cleo Butler Estate, BASF, Dwight Schaubach, Dick Barry, Charles Parr and Andy Damiani, as well as 68 individuals, organizations and businesses that have contributed smaller amounts toward making this dream a reality.

When the fundraising is finally complete, Salvation Army officials will have set aside nearly $2 million, which they expect to be enough to build the new structure and operate it for two years. That approach is refreshing in these days of economic hardship caused by the overreach of people, organizations and governments that chose not to live within their means.

As impressive is the commitment the Salvation Army has made to Suffolk businesses. Choosing to hire people and companies from Suffolk to do everything from the design to the legal documents has been a respectful and considerate nod to the partnership the Salvation Army relies on between itself and the people of Suffolk.

“We’re not really looking to anywhere else,” campaign Chairman Bobby Harrell said. “We’re raising money in Suffolk, it’s a Suffolk community project and we want to use Suffolk people to build it and keep the jobs here.”

From initial financial plans to fundraising to construction, this project has been handled with a level of responsibility that should make the Salvation Army and those who support it very proud. We look forward to seeing the finished product.