Derry Salvation Army to be evicted by end of May

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Lt. Tyler Adcox of the Salvation Army of Greater Derry in June of 2021, as the organization prepared to use a food truck to feed those in need. File Photo/Ryan Lessard

DERRY, NH – The search for a new building to headquarter the Salvation Army of Greater Derry is down to the wire. Only four months remain until the organization that serves hundreds of homeless and disadvantaged people and families finds itself essentially homeless.

The state Department of Transportation took the charity organization’s current building on 18 Folsom Road in August 2020 under Eminent Domain as part of the I-93 Exit 4A project, and has been leasing the building to the organization until they can find a new home.

Lt. Tyler Adcox said he and his wife Lt. Sojourney Adcox live off-site but the roughly 7,000-square-foot building is used for administrative offices, a food pantry and a chapel for worship services that seats about 80 people. 

“That’s a big, key component to what we do is we offer a place for worship,” Adcox said.

Since 2019, they’ve been looking for a new location. A replacement building can be a residence or a commercial building, but it must be between 7,000 and 12,000 square feet, with room for a chapel, offices and food pantry, according to Adcox. 

The organization had hoped to buy the building at 12 Peabody Road in Derry, but they weren’t able to make a bid in a narrow window of opportunity in 2020, or afford the required renovations until the state made its purchase of the Folsom Road building. 

At one point Rockingham County had looked at the Peabody property to place a halfway house there but since took that proposal off the table amid vocal opposition from local elected officials. It still appears to be owned by the Derry Housing and Redevelopment Authority, according to the town property database.

Adcox said they also looked at renting the vacant former Walgreens building on Crystal Avenue and several other properties in Derry. But all of the buildings have been too large or out of their price range. 

He said many of the rental properties available were $10 to $15 per square foot in monthly rent, and properties for sale are around $800,000 to $900,000. 

In November 2017, the Salvation Army bought the Folsom Road property for $490,000 and has since spent thousands of dollars in improvements to the building.

Now, the organization has until the end of May, when the lease expires, to vacate the premises. The building will be leveled by demolition crews shortly after that. 

The Salvation Army in Derry is facing a ‘Hail Mary’ situation as they are about to lose their lease at 18 Folsom Road. The building was purchased by the NH Department of Transportation in 2020. File Photo

Adcox put out a press release this week, hoping to seek help from the public to direct them to a property that would meet their needs.

“This is basically what it feels like, is a Hail Mary,” Adcox said.

Some people have suggested they look into the Goodwill building, since that charity is leaving the property, but Adcox said he thinks they’re leaving because the rent is too high.

So far, Adcox hasn’t even come up with a plan for the worst-case scenario, on how they will deliver services without a building. He said he’ll cross that bridge when he gets to it.

While the charity serves people living in Derry, Londonderry and Windham, they’re looking to stay in Derry, where they’ve been for two decades. Before purchasing the Folsom Road building, the Salvation Army rented space there since 2000.

“We’ve been serving for 20 years in this community. We wanna stay in this community,” Adcox said. “We’re trying our hardest to stay in town. We want to be here. We’re just trying to find our next home.” 

The Salvation Army can be reached at (603) 434-7790.

Last year, the Salvation Army of Greater Derry served over 2,000 meals in the summer, and helped 100 families with 220 children at Christmas by providing Christmas gifts and meals, according to Adcox.


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Ryan Lessard

Ryan Lessard is a freelance reporter.