It’s been four-years of waiting, now the grand opening is just around the corner.
The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center near 28th and Y officially opens November 16th.
The 122,000 square foot facility is a multi-use center in an area that needs a boost.
Channel Six News got a sneak peek at the first center of its kind in the Midwest region.
The area near 28th and Y has been hard hit in recent times…a loss of jobs, increased crime and little hope.
It's not a part of town most consider a destination location.
“It's no coincidence that we're here and it's no coincidence that we're in this spot.”
Molly Skold is with the Salvation Army Kroc Center.
The center is a community based facility and is the mission of Joan Kroc.
The Kroc fortune came from hamburgers (McDonald's) and baseball (San Diego Padres).
Now it's giving back to the community.
Joan Kroc donated $1.8 billion for 25 centers nationwide.
“Her vision was to have centers throughout the country that stood of four pillars of excellence, sports and fitness, art and education and worship, Skold said.
The three block long center has many features.
The center's crown jewel --- two pools --- a six lane lap pool with handicapped accessibility and a zero depth entry mini-water park with water basketball and a therapeutic area.
“Given what's happened in Omaha some of the pools being closed we're very, very lucky,” Skold said. “The timing couldn't be better for the center's pool to open.”
There's a huge gymnasium --- enough for three games at once, or one large event. --- Complete with seating for 600.
There’s also an assembly hall, fellowship hall and 178 rooms in all, including eight classrooms.
“The neighbors all around us were very instrumental in helping watch over this building. People take pride in this building already and they did throughout the building process,” Skold said.
The community's heart went into the center before these walls.
“One congregation actually held a blessing service,” Skold said. “And they wrote blessings. So behind these walls, behind this drywall are the most poignant blessings about what this facility will hope to become.”
“If we can fulfill Joan Kroc’s mission and Joan Kroc’s goal of providing a place where people can realize their natural giftedness then we've succeeded.” Skold said.
Membership for the Kroc Center is less than $60 a month for a family of six..
Scholarships will also be available for those in need.
The Kroc Center is hosting an open house with tours between November 9th and 15th.
The grand opening is set for January 8th.