OSWEGO, New York – The Oswego Salvation Army project currently underway on West Second Street is a community project in the truest sense. More than 90 percent of the contractors and sub contractors are local community workers from the greater Oswego County area.
â€œFrom the beginning it has been important to the Salvation Army that as much work on our new home be done by local union workers as possible,â€ said Chuck Rinoldo, the Oswego Salvation Army Property Committee Chairperson. â€œWe wanted to employ the people who would benefit most from the work.â€
Army Captain Ken Hayes said he was pleased to hear from one of the workers that they had participated in an earlier fundraising event for the same project last year.
â€œI think it was nice that this person has been able to participate in the rebuilding of this facility both as a donor and as a contractor,â€ Captain Hayes said.
The primary contractor on the project is Paul Castaldo Construction (PAC) of Oswego. Owner Paul Castaldo, Jr. has subcontracted some of the work but has remained vigilant about utilizing local laborers.
â€œWe have many local companies on this project like J&A Mechanical, Scriba Electric and others,â€ said Castaldo. â€œAs a local contracting construction company, PAC strongly supports the unions in upstate New York and maintains strong working relationships with each of them.â€
Castaldo has also been impressed with the organization and mission of the Salvation Army and its dedicated staff.
â€œThe Oswego Salvation Army is top notch,â€ he said. â€œThey are great partners to have for a project of this type. They are very encouraging people. I canâ€™t say enough good things about them.â€
With work remaining on schedule and under budget, the Salvation Army Board echoes the support.
â€œCastaldo has done a tremendous job,â€ said Salvation Army Property Committee member Ned Waterbury. â€œI think much of that success can be attributed to the fact that PAC is utilizing local workers. It all comes full circle in an undertaking like this.â€
Even the design of the new kitchen and gathering spaces were designed by local, central New York architects, JMC Architectural Associates.
Joe Maryak, partner at JMC, works in Syracuse, but lives in Oswego County.
â€œThe Salvation Army project in Oswego is a nice job for a good cause,â€ Maryak said. â€œFrom an architectural point of view, we have tried to maintain a welcoming atmosphere in the new design of the kitchen, dining area and chapel. Weâ€™ve come up with a plan that will give the Army what they need to function day to day as well as provide services during special occasions and holidays.â€
With a workforce knowledgeable of the community and its needs, the work has been able to run smoothly according to Rinoldo.
â€œThe biggest part of a project like this is bringing in a contractor and architect who understand what we are trying to do and the mission we are trying to accomplish,â€ he said. â€œWhen you use a general contractor like PAC, who has an ample supply of manpower from local unions, you receive that kind of quality workmanship that will allow you to succeed.â€
In addition to construction work, other work associated with the new facility has been done with the aid of local expertise.
The $1.5 million project has been possible in part from the fundraising coordination efforts of the Armyâ€™s local partner, Step One Strategic Giving, a fund development and capital campaign company, and the sister organization to Oswego-based marketing communications firm Step One Creative.
â€œIt has been important for us to keep this campaign local,â€ said Captain Hayes. â€œThis local chapter is here for the benefit of the community and we need the support of that community to better serve it. Bringing in the local expertise and experience of Step One was a logical choice.â€
Jeff Wallace, a representative of Step One Strategic Giving, stressed the importance of local expertise in a successful campaign.
â€œBecause we are local and passionate about the community, we know the people who can make successful capital campaigns work,â€ Wallace said. â€œWe understand how to appeal to local donors and who can help. Successful capital campaigns need those key players in the community to really get things started.â€
This $1.5 million project started when the Salvation Army began looking for a larger space to accommodate the increasing services and community members they serve on an everyday basis.
The number of people served by the Oswego Salvation Army has more than doubled in the last five years according to Captain Hayes.
â€œWe have been in desperate need of a newer, larger facility. When this space is fully renovated and the kitchen is complete, we will be able to better serve those in need of our services,â€ said Captain Hayes.
The support of the community has made construction a reality and when completed, will allow for new features and services, according to Captain Hayes. The new space will be able to provide additional educational program offerings; expanded food storage, preparation and eating areas; a renovated fellowship hall and worship area; wheelchair accessibility; a private interviewing area, classrooms, conference rooms and staff offices.
â€œThe space we had was no longer adequate,â€ Captain Hayes said. â€œWhen they built our former building in 1954, they had no way of knowing how we would be utilizing the facility today. Society has changed so much and the needs have changed. I hope that 50 years from now, people will share memories of respectful treatment and good experiences at our new location.â€
The Oswego Salvation Army is part of the International Salvation Army organization, which is an evangelical part of the Universal Christian Church. The local citadel provides food, education, services and spiritual support to the local community.
The Armyâ€˜s â€œI Believeâ€ campaign also continues to raise funds for the renovation of the Armyâ€™s new facility. If you would like to make a contribution or want more information about the capital campaign please call (315) 216-4161.
Anyone interested in information about programs or serving as a volunteer at the Oswego Salvation Army can please call (315) 343-6491.Â