WATCH: Salvation Army breaks ground on Niles Township building

Published 2:44 pm Tuesday, March 19, 2024

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NILES CHARTER TOWNSHIP — The Salvation Army of Niles will soon be able to better serve neighbors in need in Southeast Berrien and Cass Counties.

Local officials gathered Tuesday to celebrate the groundbreaking for a new Salvation Army building, to be located at 1707 Miller Dr. in Niles Charter Township. The Salvation Army of Niles hopes to have it completed by the end of 2024.

“As we gather here today, it’s essential to reflect on the evolution of the Salvation Army and how they have continuously adapted to meet the evolving needs of our community,” said Niles Mayor Nick Shelton. “From their humble beginnings to the comprehensive range of services they provide today, they remain steadfast in their mission to serve those who are most vulnerable. Whether it’s providing emergency housing, distributing food to the hungry or offering vital support during times of crisis, the Salvation Army has been a lifeline for so many right here in Niles. 

“The decision to establish this new facility has been a long time coming and a testament to the growing demand for their services AND the unrelenting support of our community.”

For the past several decades, services have been provided out of their current building, a former church located at 424 N 15th St., Niles. Due to its age and condition however, the building has become obsolete. Stairs in the non-handicap accessible, two-level facility are deteriorating, which makes serving seniors especially unsafe.

When new Corps Officers Majors Nic and Jodi Montgomery were appointed to the Niles Corps several years ago, they knew something had to be done, so they began working to reinvigorate a previous fundraising campaign. Thanks to several anonymous donors and foundations, they were finally able to reach their financial goal of $3.8 million late last year.

“I hope this new building provides both an inspiration and a service to the community,” said Niles Township Supervisor Marge Durm-Hiatt. “We’ve had it but this will be so much more for both the city and the township.”

After months of working with the architects at Abonmarche, DJ Construction was recently selected to proceed with the project. Due to inflation, the size and scope of the building was designed to be modest, multi-functional, and practical for current and future needs.

It will include a commercial kitchen to use for their hot lunch program, a dining room for meals with fellowship and flexible spaces that foster education and can host multiple community venues. Plans also include a client-choice food pantry which will allow people to choose food that best suits their family, a community vegetable garden, warehouse storage for large donations, administration and social services offices, and a chapel for prayer and worship. 

“This is such an amazing moment and we’re making this place for His glory and His honor because we want to love and care and serve the people in Southeast Berrien and Cass counties,” Jodi said.