MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - City leaders and representatives from the Salvation Army broke ground Monday on a massive new community center for the city of Memphis.
Monday, the land was just a muddy field, but soon sounds of swimming, basketball games, and children playing reverberate through the Salvation Army's Kroc Center.
The 100,000 square foot facility has been designed for everyone from children to senior citizens. Included will be soccer fields, basketball courts, a pool, a theater, a chapel, a nutrition center and a fitness center.
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said the facility is a big catch for Memphis.
"Nashville doesn't get one," he said. "Austin doesn't get one."
Memphis will receive the facility because area residents took quick action. Businesses and individuals starting giving money before it was even approved. And despite a tough economy, Memphians came up with the required $25 million needed to receive a $61 million gift from the estate of McDonald's founders Ray and Joan Kroc.
The Salvation Army's Kroc Center will sit at the crossroads of the city, near East Parkway and Central Avenue.
"While it is good to develop all over the extremities of the city, we'll never be any stronger than the heart of the city," Wharton said.
Once the $30 million facility is built, the Salvation Army will still have a $55 million endowment to run it. Salvation Army officials said there will be no need to raise any more money for the facility - ever.
Click here to take an online tour of the facility.