“In this community we have a larger immigrant population and they play soccer,” Senak said. “We were looking at what would meet the needs in this community.”
The project will be funded with Salvation Army resources from philanthropist and McDonald’s heiress Joan Kroc’s donation to the national organization, which also helped fund the seven-year-old Dayton community center.
RELATED: Opening of Kroc Center called ‘a great day in Dayton’
The center has about 120 children participate in its after school program but also has additional child focused programs and families that it helps at Christmas, with emergency utility assistance and other family focused programs
Jerry Bowling III, president of the McCook Field Neighborhood Association, said he was excited when he learned the Kroc Center had plans for the empty lot and will bring more options for event space.
“The fact that that land is being used is huge, plus it also expands the capabilities of the Kroc Center and the Salvation Army to serve the community,” he said.
While the Dayton center has plenty of indoor space, like a large worship center and 128-seat movie theater, Business Administrator Tim Erlandson said they could use more outdoor space for recreation.
LOCAL: Investment breathes new life into unique Dayton artists’ space
There is room at the original 17 acre site to tear down more trees and develop more of the green space, but the Salvation Army decided they wanted to keep the green space on the original campus. The property across the street gave them the opportunity to expand and maintain the green space on the original campus.
The site will also have an amphitheater where people can bring their lawn chairs and attend concerts and events. Senak said they have “big dreams” for the new outdoor event area and want it to be a place where neighbors can gather for events.
“It will be something where the neighborhood can come and have a fun time,” Senak said.
There also will be a building constructed at the end of the lot that can house the Salvation Army’s mobile feeding canteen and can be used as a warehouse, bathrooms for the center and a concession area.
RELATED: Popular tax credits aiding projects like Dayton Arcade could be history
The soccer field will be able to serve as a lacrosse field. The project will also include a walking track wrapping around the field, a splash pad, and outdoor pickleball courts. Senak said interest in pickleball has picked up in Dayton and its the fastest growing sport in America.
“It’s really picked up on our indoor courts,” he said.
LOCAL: Dayton CareFlight nurse recognized nationally
By the numbers: Dayton Kroc Center
• $4.3 million expansion project
• $40 million original investment in the center
• 120 children enrolled in after school program