Kroc Family Donates Millions to Salvation Army Hawaii

The site in Kapolei where the new community center will be located.
The site in Kapolei where the new community center will be located.

KAPOLEI (KHNL) - A new community center is coming to Kapolei, thanks to a big donation by the family who introduced the world to Big Macs.

The Salvation Army in Hawaii was awarded an $80 million grant to build the Kroc Center Hawaii. The grant comes from the estate of Joan Kroc -- the wife of Ray Kroc, the man who founded McDonald's.

"We talked for a long time about bringing about a new city, a second city, bringing about much needed growth and quality development to a critical part of our island in West Oahu, and today is a major step forward in that regard," said Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann.

"The only reason the Salvation Army exists is to come alongside what we've heard today, and generate the energy, as best we can, to make things better," said Salvation Army Commissioner Phil Swyers.

The community center will be built on Hawaiian Homelands, along the planned North South Road.

It'll feature a performing arts center, an athletic center, an aquatic center, and pre-school.

"It's a really good thing," said one parent. "Anything to help out the kids in the community is always good and positive."

Seven schools with about 8,000 children will be within a five mile radius of the center. 29 schools, with 28,000 children will be within a ten mile radius.

"It's very important so they have a place to go, where they're not out on the street, and they have activities they can do," said one parent.

George Yamamoto, a member of the Kapolei Makakilo Neighborhood Board, says the center is needed for the growing community.

"We have a lot of homes in the area, we have a lot of new homes coming up, and I think this will really compliment all the families that are here with kids that are growing," said Yamamoto.

The center will cost about $100 million, and the community must raise the remaining $20 million.

"I think the community will step up to the plate and this will give us a big nice well-planned facility for our kids and for our families," said Yamamoto.

The center won't be open until construction is completed in 2010.

"It'll be a great addition for our community," said Yamamoto.

"It's something for our families, something for our kids, something for our future."