Austin Salvation Army blesses construction of new community center

The Salvation Army Austin on Monday afternoon blessed the construction site of its new 17,000-square-foot Citadel Corps Community Center by placing about 30 prayer cards written by some of the project’s donors and supporters in the building’s foundation.

The community center in the Rathgeber Village at 4700 Manor Road in East Austin will include a chapel, gymnasium, kitchen, multipurpose room and administration offices. Music and senior citizen programs are among the activities that the $6.4 million center will house.

“We wanted the foundation of this building to be prayer so that everything that takes places in this facility moving forward would be a blessing to this community,” said Area Commander Maj. Andrew Kelly.

RELATED: Austin Salvation Army to build shelter, community center 

Salvation Army staffers read some of the prayer cards that asked for everything from the success of the project to the safety of the construction workers before tying the cards to the rebar of the building’s foundation, which is expected to be poured tonight.

Living in Austin and being “surrounded by a successful community,” said Mike Nasi, chairman of the Salvation Army Austin’s advisory board, sometimes means that people “forget those in need.” The new community center, he said, will offer “a hand up, not hand out.”

Rathgeber Village also includes several social service agencies such as Austin Children’s Services, which cares for abused and neglected children; Big Brothers Big Sisters; and the Rise School of Austin. Dick and Sara Rathgeber donated land appraised at $1 million for the new Citadel building, and also pledged $1 million for the project.

The Salvation Army Austin, which also plans to build a new emergency shelter for women and children on Tannehill Lane, expects to move into the new Corps Community Center in the next few months.

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