Friday, May 07, 2010

Community Board 1 Takes Up Question of Cordoba House Mosque Near Ground Zero

New York City Community Board 1 is in the process of evaluating a proposal from several Muslim groups to build a mosque and major community center in Lower Manhattan just blocks from Ground Zero. The groups, led by the American Society for Muslim Advancement and the Cordoba Initiative want to build a facility that would rival the 92nd Street Y in terms of community offerings as well as provide prayer space for more than 1,000 parishioners. It's a $100 million project, and financing has already been lined up:
The $100 million glass-and-steel Cordoba House would be built on the site of the old Burlington Coat Factory, at 45 Park Place near Broadway, and would have a 500-seat performing arts venue, swimming pool and basketball court in addition to the mosque. Construction financing has already been lined up through private donations from the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, among other groups.

Among those involved in the project is the Masjid al Farah mosque, which is located in TriBeCa and led by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who is also involved in the Cordoba proposal.

The Community Board appears ready to give its okay to the proposal for the building, which was bought last July.

There's already quite a bit of controversy over whether it is appropriate for the mosque proposal to go forward, and questions over when they hope to hold their groundbreaking and opening. In fact, at the Community Board meeting, there were some who questioned the project because of its proximity to Ground Zero and the 9/11 terror attacks. Still, the Board appears ready to approve the project.

Bear in mind that the Community Board looks at existing community facilities and sees that they are sorely lacking, so that this group's proposal would fill a significant need in Lower Manhattan.

Also, the proposal will have to get approval from the City Council (like all other construction proposals throughout the City), but if the Community Board gives its approval, the City Council will likewise give its approval.

To give some sense as to this proposed location, here's a map showing the location of Ground Zero compared with 45 Park Place, which is the proposed site:

View Larger Map

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