The Salvation Army buildings in downtown Missoula are for sale. The asking price is $2.5 million. The Army wants to build a new center on Russell Street.
The for sale signs in Salvation Army windows get prominence on West Broadway. The main building, the parking lot and the distribution center next door are on the market.
"There's nothing wrong with it," said the Missoula Salvation Army's Lieutenant Joshua Hamilton, "It just doesn't meet our needs in terms of space."
If the property sells, the Salvation Army would build a new center at Russell and 2nd.
The Army wants room to expand programming and social services.
"We'd love to build a gym, too, as well to have more youth programs," said Hamilton.
Lt. Hamilton said a new center could offer after-school programs.
Billy Berger is a single dad with a disability and three children. He came to the Salvation Army for help. He thinks his little girls could benefit from the new center.
"Socialization," said Berger, "and getting them out of the house."
The new center would replace the downtown chapel with a church. There would be a bigger kitchen. There would be more than two washing machines, two clothes driers and two showers.
Downtown has always been convenient for many needy people who live in and around the inner core. Sometimes they are homeless people living outside.
"We hate to leave the downtown area," said Berger, "however there are bus lines that go down Russell so it will be easy to access."
But for many Salvation Army clients, change is hard.
Charles Colenati has arthritis in his hip and has trouble walking.
"Because of my social anxiety problems," said Colenati, "I can't really go on a bus. It's not a good thing for my mental state."
Changing the Salvation Army's location could be stressful for some clients. It will likely be controversial in the community.
But Lt. Hamilton wants to increase the army's influence in Missoula by partnering with other social service providers. He said that can happen in a bigger facility.