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Memphis Kroc Center Preparing for Grand Opening

From the moment you step into the Kroc Center in midtown Memphis, you can't help but think - this is a great place to be a kid.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - From the moment you step into the Kroc Center in midtown Memphis, you can't help but think - this is a great place to be a kid.

From the Challenge Center to the 300-seat theatre, the high tech weight room to the aquatics center, it's certainly a sight to behold.

"We've got the two story slide up there, we've got slap targets with the hydro storm tower and we've got 30-50 gallon dump tanks that work with the squirt guns," says the center's Aquatics Director Lem Turner.

Captain Jonathan Rich with the Salvation Army says the $30 million facility, which spans more than 100,000 square feet, is all about uniting Memphis.

"Our desire is to bring people together from all walks of life, all races, all cultures together in the city to work for the betterment of Memphis as a whole."

The Kroc Center offers individual and family memberships, as well as free after-school programs for at-risk kids.

Teacher Frederick Thorns says, "A lot of them have never been outside their own neighborhoods, so being able to come in here you're able to see a different arena, you're able to jump outside that comfort zone and do things they probably never thought they would be able to do."

Joan Kroc, wife of the late McDonald's founder Ray Kroc, donated the money for the center. It took the Salvation Army three years to build it, but the group was mulling the idea long before then.

"From the very first day we started thinking about bringing a Kroc center to Memphis was seven years ago," Rich says. "Now seven years later, after three years of construction, we're ready to open the doors."

The Kroc Center's grand opening is scheduled for Saturday, February 23. For more information, visit www.krocmemphis.org

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