The remediation of the former Harrison Avenue landfill in Camden formally began Thursday, paving the way for a multimillion-dollar Salvation Army community center.

The so-called Kroc Center, funded with $59 million from the estate of Joan Kroc, widow of the founder of McDonald's Corp., is part of a $1.6 billion campaign to build Salvation Army community centers around the country. The Camden center is expected to open in 2012.

"We are reclaiming this landfill so that the Salvation Army can transform lives," state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin said at a ceremony at the site.

Work to clear and cover the landfill, a former city dump at the joining of the Delaware and Cooper Rivers in the Cramer Hill section, began this week. The 120,000-square-foot community center will include outdoor athletic facilities on its 24 acres, along with a chapel, aquatic center, dance center, theater, and town plaza. - Matt Katz