MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Big Macs and Quarter-Pounders are just part of the Kroc family legacy. Ray Kroc is the man who founded McDonalds. His wife Joan left $1.5 billion to the Salvation Army to build community centers across the country.
Now, the Memphis Kroc Center is Midtown is nearing completion; and abc24.com got a sneak peek.
Outside there are two full-sized soccer fields, a splash park and a playground. Inside there's a turf field, a broadcasting center and much, much more.
“It really addresses the needs in the community relating to education, recreation, arts and worship,” said Capt. John Rich, area commander of the Memphis Salvation Army.
The Memphis Kroc Center has been six years in the making.
“Construction will be done by the end of December,” Rich told abc24.com.
It is impressive, and worth the wait. There are things one would expect, like an aquatics center complete with water slide, lazy river, pools and hot tubs.
There is a performance arts center for theatrical productions.
And of course, in Memphis, basketball courts are mandatory; there are several of those.
But a very unique feature is the challenge center. It looks like something out of a science fiction movie. It stands three levels high and all rooms open onto the gym; bands will stage concerts from those rooms.
But, get this - each room is computerized to present educational challenges to kids. The rooms encompass problem solving, team building, math, science and more.
It's all about education, recreation and fun. And, as one of just twenty seven Kroc Centers in the country, getting one in Memphis was a big deal.
“It’s a very big deal,” Rich told abc24.com, “there was quite a competitive bid process.”
That bid process required raising $25 million locally in order to receive $55 million from Kroc.
“The big idea is to bring the community together,” Rich said.
The Memphis Kroc Center is affordable, costing just $30 a month for individuals and $50 a month per family.
It should be open to the public by the end of February 2013.