Breaking ground, building hope

Apr 17, 2024

The Salvation Army North Corps Community Center — affectionately known as “The Sal” — officially began its journey to becoming modernized and expanded on April 11, when nearly 100 people gathered to break ground on the social services organization’s largest local construction project in years. 

Residents surrounding 24th and Pratt Streets in Omaha often gather at this beloved community center to work out or play sports, eat a nutritious meal when one is not readily available, receive material assistance, and attend church services.  But the North Corps facility dates to the mid-20th century and, over the years, has become too small to adequately serve the needs of the community.  It is also in dire need of technological updates to better assist its clients and guests in the 21st century.

The groundbreaking event included a ceremonial turning of dirt and comments by prominent community members.  Salvation Army North Corps Advisory Board Chair Dr. Viv Ewing and Salvation Army Western Divisional Commander Maj. Scott Shelbourn were among those who provided remarks in the North Corps Chapel. 

“This is a project that will greatly enhance our programs and services to the North Omaha community for many generations to come,” Maj. Shelbourn said.  “It’s happening thanks to a long list of generous donors plus the support of community stakeholders.  This project strengthens our commitment to serving those in need, which we’ve been doing in North Omaha since the late 19th century.”

The new North Corps building will nearly triple in size — boasting new high-tech classrooms and dedicated offices for social workers — as the current building is renovated and a new addition is constructed on the north side of the property.  Among the much-needed updates will be a new and expanded kitchen, a gymnasium space that is nearly twice what is currently available, and a new worship space that will double as a community room and seat up to 200.

The groundbreaking ceremony also set in motion the public phase of the Creating Hope Campaign, which is dedicated to raising funds in support of the new North Corps.  Thanks to the silent phase, which began last year, more than 85% of the campaign’s stretch goal of $30 million has been achieved, according to officials — and momentum is strong as they look to raise the final $4 million toward the stretch goal, all of which will go toward endowment and capacity-building for the new facility.

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