Kroc Center recharges Salem

After a bidding war among Oregon cities, a $40 million Kroc Center opens in Salem.

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Poverty-stricken Salem is getting a badly needed boost with the opening of a $40 million Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community center – benefiting kids and the local economy alike.

Oregon’s capital city, where half the residents live in poverty, where gang problems grow, and where low-cost child care and after-school programs are scarce, was precisely the sort of place the late Joan Kroc had in mind when she left a fortune to build community centers nationwide. This weekend, after nearly five years of bidding, designing, building and fundraising, Salem residents will celebrate the grand opening of the $40 million, 92,000-square-foot center that bears Kroc’s name…

Counting design, construction and the 100 new Kroc center jobs, the project gave the city an estimated $100 million shot in the arm during the darkest days of this recession, Mayor Janet Taylor said. But that’s just the beginning.

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