Salvation Army officials in Jacksonville remain hopeful ground can soon be broken on a new Citadel building.
Salvation Army board president Ed Wainscott confirmed he met with officials from the organization’s St. Louis headquarters yesterday to discuss the project. Currently, there’s not a definitive timeline for when it could start, but Wainscott hopes that will change after Christmas.
The Jacksonville Salvation Army had wanted last December to break ground by this past summer. That hasn’t happened, despite a capital campaign that has raised nearly a million dollars, according to Wainscott. The total was less than $700,000 at this time last year.
He explains the problem isn’t raising money locally, but rather how much funding St. Louis will match. Wainscott says local Salvation Army officials are hoping for a $400,000 commitment from the St. Louis headquarters, but that’s still up in the air.
“What we thought we had and what they were telling us were two different things. There is still the discussion on the architecture; are we going to reduce anymore? Are we going to build what the original complex was stating? We are very anxious to meet with the major that came and met with us yesterday who had given us the assurance,” says Wainscott.
“Once you put a shovel in the ground, more and more completion of all of these pledges will really start pouring in again because of the frustrations that they currently have.”
Wainscott says there are probably another $100,000 to $120,000 in unfinished pledges locally that would help get the Citadel closer to reality.
He says in the last 18 months, members of the Jacksonville board have made three trips to St. Louis, and majors from the St. Louis headquarters have come up here twice.
“A lot of it has to do with the intricate workings of the Corps. It’s not so much even a money situation; it’s just they want to make sure that once it is built, we will be able to sustain it with the cost of equipping it,” he says. “We gave the assurance that we have a number of individuals who not only have pledged finances, but have also pledged in-kind gifts.”
Wainscott says it’ll cost a little more than $2 million to build the Citadel, which will be built across the street from the current facility at 331 West Douglas. The original plans for a $4 million facility were scrapped after the success of the new South Main thrift store.
When it’s built, the Citadel will have a chapel, meeting rooms, a gymnasium with lockers, a kitchen and expanded eating area, and more rooms to facilitate Salvation Army programs.
Anyone interested in making a donation can mail a check to The Salvation Army of Jacksonville, P.O. Box 220, Jacksonville IL 62651 or call 245-7124 for more information.