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Salvation Army Breaks Ground On Long-awaited Center

By Emma Dill, posted Mar 14, 2024
A rendering shows the Salvation Army's proposed Center of Hope. Leaders announced Thursday that construction is underway on the long-awaited center. (Image courtesy of Salvation Army)
Construction is underway on the Salvation Army’s long-awaited Center of Hope.

Major Ken Morris announced the milestone Thursday during an event at downtown Wilmington’s Harrelson Center. The Center of Hope will serve as a homeless shelter and a “central hub” for the Salvation Army’s social services outreach programs, according to Salvation Army leaders.

The new 20,500-square-foot facility will be located on 22 acres at 1220 N. 30th St. – an area that’s bordered by the Creekwood neighborhood and Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway. Crews began work on the site a couple of weeks ago, according to Morris.

“All the contracts have been signed, and they are working,” he said Thursday. “Construction has begun.”

Right now, crews are working on clearing the land, he said. The next order of business will be creating another access point onto the property. The only road currently providing access to the site is located far from where the center is set to be constructed, Morris explained.  

Then crews will start to lay the foundation for the center and work on the first of the project’s two phases. The Salvation Army is working with McKinley Building Corp. and architecture firm LS3P on the project.

The proposed shelter will have beds for 75 people, including seven suites specifically designed for families. The suites will help the group better serve the area, Morris said.

“This will actually help us even better help the homeless in our community,” he said. “The previous shelter only had a men’s side and women's side, this will have the suites for the families as well, which is desperately needed in this community.”

The Salvation Army previously operated a facility on Second Street in downtown Wilmington. It closed last May after the city of Wilmington purchased the property for $4.8 million earlier in the year. Proceeds from the sale are helping the group fund the construction of the new shelter’s first phase.

The project’s steering committee along with other representatives from the Salvation Army and Wilmington and New Hanover County leaders attended Thursday’s event.

Jonathan Barfield, a member of New Hanover County's Board of Commissioners, said he values the Salvation Army’s role in helping the community's homeless.

“I thank you for what you all are doing,” he said. “When the building downtown went away there was a great void downtown for folks who needed someplace to stay.”

Wilmington City Council member Luke Waddell recognized the impact and ongoing work of the Salvation Army and other faith-based groups in the area.

“We're blessed to have a very robust nonprofit community in Wilmington because we as a city government and as a community recognize the unique value and unique ability of faith-based nonprofits to impact lives in a positive way and to make a lasting change,” he said.

Morris said the group aims to have the Center of Hope up and running by next spring.
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