With the ceremonial toss of a shovel full of dirt, ground was broken Friday for the expansion of The Salvation Army in Grand Haven.
Salvation Army officials, community leaders and residents gathered for the ceremony to begin construction of the more than 5,000-square-foot expansion project, which includes a multipurpose room, classrooms, office, kitchen, storage and restrooms.
The expansion is expected to cost about $1.8 million. C.L. Construction and Gen1 Architectural Group will head the project.
The project started in 2012 when The Salvation Army completed a facility-needs assessment that found a need for a larger building, said Craig Bessinger, a member of the organization's advisory board. In 2014, a feasibility study was conducted to determine the amount that could be raised in a campaign to support an expansion. In 2018, the capital campaign reached its $1.1 million goal.
Through the expansion, The Salvation Army's Grand Haven corps will serve more students with an after-school program called C.H.I.L.L., serve youth and teens with music and recreation, and serve adults with educational and life skills programs. Additionally, the space will allow them to better serve the back-to-school and Christmas toy distributions, Bessinger said. With the full-service kitchen, Bessinger said the expansion will allow for community meetings, programs, weddings and more.
Grand Haven Mayor-elect Bob Monetza said the expansion will help provide additional aid to residents, and he thanked everyone who helped play a role in making it happen.
Maj. Glen Caddy of The Salvation Army recalled being at the divisional headquarters in Grand Rapids from 2000-03, during which time he traveled to Grand Haven several times a year for property meetings. While the project has been in discussions for years, Caddy said they always trust that God’s timing is perfect, and He has brought together the right people and community support.
“We know that God is blessing this,” Caddy said.
Friday’s ceremony was the next step in a process that will result in a strong and functional addition that will increase the capacity to serve the community for years to come, said Lt. Col. Paul Smith.
With the construction project officially launched, Maj. William Holman, of the Grand Haven corps, thanked everyone involved in the years of planning, individuals and groups who contributed, and the previous local corps leaders, Maj. Jay Davis and Maj. Sally Davis.