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Salvation Army plans please North Side groups

By Craig Smith
Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Neighborhood groups welcomed the Salvation Army’s decision to build a worship and service center in the North Side and not remodel a Greek Orthodox church.

“We are pleased that the Salvation Army has decided to reinvest in the North Side community and continue to provide, and even expand, services at their current location,” said Paul Carson, a Mexican War Streets resident who is president of the North Side Neighborhood Coalition.

The Salvation Army’s plans to convert Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church into a worship and social service center had concerned neighbors who thought a homeless program would be located close to homes, schools and playgrounds.

“We were getting pressure from the community, but the decision was more dollars and cents,” said Maj. Robert J. Reel, divisional commander. The Salvation Army will raze two buildings it owns on West North Avenue near the closed Garden Theatre and build a center there.

The church would have required extensive renovations, he said.

“It makes more sense to build … without making adjustments and trying to retrofit,” Reel said.

Concerns remain that the North Side is being deluged with social service programs, but community leaders said the neighborhood is poised for an economic infusion.

The Salvation Army project and plans to renovate the Garden Theatre will help “build up the area,” said Robin Rosemary Miller, president of the North Side/North Shore Chamber of Commerce.

“There is a lot of money to be invested in this neighborhood,” she said.

Holy Trinity’s 300-family congregation plans to build a home in McCandless.

Reel said the Salvation Army’s approximately $4 million project will begin sometime next year.

Craig Smith can be reached at or 412-380-5646.

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