A long-delayed plan to build a new community center on Dudley Street is finally getting the green-light. The Salvation Army says it will begin work right away on the what it calls â€œthe largest social service community center in the history of Massachusetts.â€ The Kroc Corps center will be built on what is now a sprawling collection of vacant lots near the Uphams Corner T stop at Clifton and Dudley streets.
Dorchester was chosen as the site of this center more than three years ago, but fundraising difficulties slowed the effort. A major push over the last year recently put the capitol campaign close to its goal. It will cost an estimated $115 million dollars to build and fund the new center. The six and a half acre campus will house athletic facilities, including a soccer field, and an auditorium, along with space for classrooms and computer labs. In 2006, the Reporter visited San Diego to tour the first Kroc Center built in the country for a preview  of the kinds of programming that will be coming to Dorchester.
In a statement, a Salvation Army leader praised the local effort to raise funds for the center. John Hamill, Chairman of both Sovereign Bank New England and the Kroc Center Capital Campaign Leadership Gift Committee, led the effort.
"In a down economy, the Boston community dug deep and stepped up to help raise the funds and demonstrate the commitment needed to move this enormously important project forward," said Major William Bode, Divisional Commander of The Salvation Army's Massachusetts Division. "For every resident of Boston, but especially for thousands of elders, children and teens in the Upham-Dudley section of the City, this project will provide enormous opportunities to improve their lives."
The Salvation Army groundbreaking ceremony is set for July 27 at the site at 11:00 a.m.