Posh Salvation Army Centers Sputter in Downturn
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 14, 2009 3:53 PM CDT
Roberta Graves looks through the food pantry line at the Salvation Army.   (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
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(Newser) – A multi-billion-dollar plan to install upscale Salvation Army community centers in US cities has hit the recession skids, the New York Times reports. Joan B. Kroc, widow of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, left $1.8 billion for the Army to build some 30 complexes featuring pools and ice rinks. Now some are sputtering or canceled, while additional funds dry up and officials debate whether the plan conflicts with the Army's frugal image.

Four complexes are finished, with more on the way—but two, in Detroit and Massena, NY, have been scrapped. The Detroit cancellation sparked accusations that the Army misused funds or simply backed down from the responsibilities of running a community center. One retired Ford executive, who led Detroit's funding committee, chalked it up to butting heads: “This couldn’t survive the political bickering that was going on among Army members,” he said.