An eight-year dream became a reality last Friday when the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center was dedicated in Phoenix South Mountain.

The 150,000-square-foot facility at 1375 E. Broadway Road is the largest community center in Arizona and will create more than 200 new full- and part-time jobs.

The Kroc Center was built around the existing South Mountain Youth Center, which was originally dedicated in November of 1968. Phoenix was one of six cities to receive a grant to build the new facility, through the estate of Ray and Joan Kroc. Ray is the founder of McDonald’s Corp.

As part of Joan Kroc’s mandates, the city had to go through an application process to receive the funds and the community had to raise some funds of its own to go toward the project. The estate contributed $64 million while the community raised $15 million. Phoenix’s Kroc Center is one of 18 Kroc Centers throughout America. Nine more centers are still under construction.

Located on 16 acres the new center boasts an indoor water park, three NBA courts or six volleyball courts, an indoor track, a fitness center, a boxing gym, a 350-seat chapel and performing arts center, a 35-foot climbing wall, classrooms, a library and computer lab. It took 22 months to build and more than 360,000 construction man hours. The center was opened to the public on Monday.

“What a gem,” said Mayor Greg Stanton during the dedication. “What a point of pride for the entire city. What a point of pride for the entire state of Arizona. This is the best facility of its kind in our entire state. We are a lucky city to have this fantastic facility.”

For more information on the Kroc Center, call (602) 425-5000 or visit psmkroc.org.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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