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White Plains Salvation Army Looks to Expand

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The White Plains Salvation Army moved into an early 20th century synagogue in 1970 and has since operated under the historical stone facade and original wooden pews with Star of David etchings. Limited space and updated safety regulations have forced the non-profit to serve fewer people. Now, the Salvation Army hopes to accommodate more people by including five additional lots in a remodeling plan.

Antonio Rosamilia, the captain and pastor at the Salvation Army, said all updates have been designed to preserve the character of the 16 Sterling Ave. building, which was constructed in the early 1900’s.

“The Salvation Army has been serving the White Plains community since 1892 and we want to be able to do the same things we’ve been doing for the past 100 years,” said Rosamilia, a Hartsdale resident who has been with the White Plains organization since 2007. “We're going to maintain the facade. The city of White Plains has torn a lot of old buildings down and the neighborhood will like it if we preserve this beautiful building."

Newer building codes have forced the Salvation Army to cut the summer day camp from 60 kids to 40 and decrease after school programs enrollment from 60 participants to 25. The organization hopes to accommodate as many people as before by expanding south on W. Post Road to include five more lots.

The remodeling would create a parking lot with two properties and then elongate the current building to house a gym, office space for those who currently work at home, a band room for storing instruments now kept in closets, four more classrooms and an apartment for Salvation Army employees.

"In the summer, outside it gets too hot for the kids and inside it's also too hot. So we want to have a little gym for cooling off or for when it rains,” said Rosamilia. “We educate kids and try to keep them motivated from the age of seven or eight and up. We offer guitar, theory, singing, brass and drums in our music program. With music, they have to be committed. Their minds aren’t on the streets because they’re too busy with good things.”

The remodeling will also help the Salvation Army consolidate the costs and energy spent running 12 freezers stuffed with ingredients and meals for the non-profit’s soup kitchen by creating one walk in freezer.

All the generators and other mechanical equipment will be stored inside the new building to provide neighbors with a quieter, more serene landscape.

The Salvation Army began submitting plans to the city for approval this June. Rosamilia said construction could begin as early as next spring.

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