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The Virginian-Pilot(Norfolk, VA.)

The corner of Princess Anne Road and Ballentine Boulevard a few years ago held a 7-Eleven, a Chinese restaurant and a few other fading businesses.

On Sunday, the neighborhood reveled in the corner's $80 million redevelopment.

More than 5,000 people toured the Salvation Army's Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, eating free food, taking in performances and walking through the pristine two-story facility. It opens for business at 5:30 this morning.

A few informal reviews ranged from "beautiful" to "I love it."

Brett Meredith, Hampton Roads area commander for the Salvation Army, said the Broad Creek neighborhood was chosen because it needed a family-friendly center and also had a diverse community to support it. He estimated that at least 100 people on Sunday signed up for individual and family memberships. The monthly cost ranges from $42 for seniors and individual children to $85 for families.

The new building features an aquatic center with water slides and kid pools, exercise equipment and several community rooms for celebrations and smaller gatherings. The site also has a 370-seat chapel and theater.

Nakeya Green, 38, brought her two sons for the opening. Green, who works for Bank of America, lives in the neighborhood. She was skeptical until she took the tour. "When I went inside," she said, " I was floored."

Green signed up for a family membership. She already has plans to have a graduation party for her 11-year-old son, O'Naje Jackson, at the center. They expect to use the pool and basketball courts, too. "This is perfect for the community."

Louis Hansen, 757-446-2341,


April 28, 2014
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