The Salvation Army serves 30,000 to 50,000 people annually across Trumbull County.
WARREN -- The Salvation Army's Warren citadel will launch $300,000 to $400,000 worth of renovations in September using locally donated funds to create a community center.
The citadel is at 270 Franklin St. and has hired Jack Gibson Construction Co. of Warren to do the job. The full-court gym will be renovated with a new floor, backboards, heating and cooling, lighting, showers and improved gym acoustics.
The building's leaky roof will be redone, ductwork and electrical system efficiency will be increased, and there will be some painting and masonry work.
Fixing the gym
Built in the late 1940s, the three-story citadel -- a military term meaning building or temple -- was renovated and added to in 1992 after a $1.2 million capital campaign.
The gym, however, was added in the 1970s and pretty much left alone. It has some torn tile, some inoperative lighting and stains from leaks.
"This time, we actually had money in our reserves to pay for a project such as this. Some of that came from our last capital campaign," said Capt. Robert Kramer.
Kramer, 35, in his fourth year running the Warren operation, is in his 13th year of ministry with the Salvation Army, having gone to seminary at Suffern, N.Y. He grew up in Niles and came to the building starting at age 5 to play basketball and dodgeball in the gym. His grandmother, Rita Whetstone, was the young people's minister at the time.
He's very much in tune with the building and its needs.
A neighborhood effort
"The biggest source of this kind of funding comes from people who pass on and leave us in their will, and say they want to help someone who was less fortunate," Kramer said. Half of these dollars go to capital projects, and half go toward running the Salvation Army's programs.
"These are local donations that people give out of their wills, primarily, and some people set up endowments," Kramer said. "That's where something like this is coming out of. This is one of the ways we utilize the money, to do projects like this."
The organization is hopeful its renovated facilities will be put to greater use by the community "so that it will become a true community center," Kramer said. "The community may use it and have a true sense of ownership of it."
He said it's hoped the work will start in September and be done sometime in October.
The gym will be adorned with the Salvation Army shield on its new floor and can be rented for various events. The citadel also offers other rooms.
For more information call (330) 392-1573. Contributions should be made out to the "Salvation Army Building Campaign."
Commitment to service
The Salvation Army in Warren serves 30,000 to 50,000 people annually across Trumbull County, Kramer said.
It provides a food pantry, kid camps, crisis counseling, ministry and services, holiday baskets and back-to-school backpacks. This year 400 kids will get the backpacks with school supplies and shoes, Kramer said.
The Salvation Army's mission, he explained, is "to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, to minister in his name. We're motivated by his love and we serve without discrimination to whosoever may come."