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Salvation Army site is all spruced up

Completion of community center overhaul has members overjoyed.

April 21, 2011|By Gretchen Meier, gretchen.meier@latimes.com
  • Major Robert L. Rudd, from left, Robert's daughter-in-law, Lt. Kari, Gary Clark and Elaine Paonessa take a look at the food pantry room during Salvation Army's open house in Burbank on Wednesday, April 20, 2011. (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff Photographer)
Major Robert L. Rudd, from left, Robert's daughter-in-law,…

A Cinderella-like transformation has happened in the 300 block of East Angeleno Avenue.

Salvation Army of Burbank opened its doors to the public Wednesday afternoon and invited visitors to view its newly renovated community center.

Lifetime member Elaine Paonessa was as surprised as she was proud as she toured the facility.

“I remember when this was just a storage room,” she said as she walked through the new computer lab. “I’m totally overwhelmed.”

In addition to the donated computer lab where the public is encouraged to participate in technology and language classes, the facility also boasts a new music room, art studio, outside barbecue area and an area set aside for gardening.

The majority of the revamped spaces were underused or storage areas, said Salvation Army Lt. Kari Rudd.

“Before I was assigned to Burbank, I was a banker,” Rudd said. “So the first thing I did when I got here was take a look at the budget.”

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Rudd found enough funds for the improvements and attributes the availability to the lack of maintenance over the past 15 years.

Besides the storage-area conversions, water damage and flooring were also repaired during the past eight months.

“You know the catchall tray at the bottom of the refrigerator? It’s not that pretty,” Rudd said. “But really that’s what the facility is for these families.”

The community center will hopefully be able to accommodate the needs of entire families, she said, even if they don’t participate in the Salvation Army’s religious services.

“Folks just need a place to belong,” Rudd said.
 
 

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