Columbia County commissioners on Tuesday likely will approve a $25,000 grant to help build a Richmond County facility for the Salvation Army.
The grant, which tentatively was passed last week during a committee meeting, would aid in the construction of the Kroc Center in the Harrisburg neighborhood of Augusta.
Located on 17 acres off Broad Street, the Kroc Center will act as a community service center with facilities for arts, aquatics, recreation and more. Construction for the community center was made possible with a $67.8 million grant to the Augusta Salvation Army from the Joan B. Kroc Foundation, but the community must raise $20 million to receive the endowment.
More than $17 million has been raised through local sources, according to a Sept. 8 e-mail from Derek B.Dugan, the Kroc Center coordinator for the Salvation Army.
Columbia County Commis-sion Chairman Ron Cross said he and other commissioners chose to approve the grant since the Salvation Army operates as a regional organization.
"The Salvation Army has been in business forever and they don't distinguish between counties," Cross said. "They help whoever's in need.
"They serve the people in the region, and that includes Columbia County."
Cross said county officials first discussed the grant about three months ago, but it will be listed as a consent item on the agenda for a Tuesday meeting.
The commission regularly approves grants for other Augusta-based groups such as Fort Discovery and the CSRA Alliance.
Donating to the Kroc Center was especially appealing, Cross said, since it is a one-time request.
"Everything we do is year to year anyway, but we knew that wouldn't be coming back next year," he said.
Though Columbia County has fared better than most regions during the current economic recession, county revenues have dwindled, which might jeopardize the county's future support for charities.
"If it (revenues) continues to decline, we'll have to look at them as we go forward," Cross said. "I don't know if these (charitable grants) can continue year after year."
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