Plainfield Village Board Approves Muslim Community Center

On Monday night the Plainfield Village Board voted 4-3 to authorize the village attorney to draft an ordinance to permit religious assembly by the Islamic Foundation of the Southwest Suburbs at a new facility within the village. The group had purchased a closed church in the 23000 block of W. Main Street and were hoping to turn the building into a community center. Two previous attempts by the village board to approve the permit failed to pass but on Monday night, a standing room only crowd saw a spirited debate that led to an almost 90 minute public comment period with 29 individuals speaking about the community center. 27 of the 29 speakers spoke in favor of the project while only two individuals spoke openly against the proposal. Residents in the neighborhood came out against the proposal citing traffic concerns in the surrounding community. There were some who believed that religious discrimination not traffic played a role in the opposition to the proposal. Neighbors to the church and village trustees all adamantly denied that the applicants religion played a role in their opposition.¬†As a condition of the board approving the project the Islamic Foundation of the Southwest Suburbs had to agree to parking restrictions in the neighborhood surrounding the former church, must form a traffic committee and has to install a fence surrounding the property line of the community center. Trustees Bill Lamb, Cally Larson and Ed O’Rourke voted in favor of the project with trustees Margie Bonuchi, Larry Newton and Brian Wojowski voting against. Village President Mike Collins cast the tie breaking vote to approve the project. Trustee Larry Newton was in favor of the project but voted against the proposal in its current form after additional stipulations were added to the proposal stating that he believed the IFSWS had already made enough concessions to the village in previous incarnations of the project. The Islamic Foundation of the Southwest Suburbs has been located in a strip mall off Route 59 in Plainfield for more then a decade.

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