Community News -
Written by Wafa Unus, Muslim Link Staff Reporter
Thursday, 12 April 2012 09:04
The planned 40,000 square feet expansion of Islamic Center of Maryland in Gaithersburg, MD is pictured here. The property was originally a used as a plant nursery. Image courtesy of ICM.
After years of filling out documents, applying for permits and raising over 1.5 million dollars, the Islamic Center of Maryland, ICM will break ground on its new 40,000 square foot center at the end of the month.
Nadeem Ahmad, ICM Board of Trustee Member, said that though the process was long and hard, the community support provided the motivation necessary to keep the project moving through various obstacles.
“We feel very confident. For the last few years the community has been very generous. The community has donated without seeing anything on the ground. There is definitely tremendous, tremendous support,” he said.
While development was delayed due to various permit requirements on environmentally protected land the community has now obtained approval that allows them to pursue the first stage of construction, land development.
“We are literally on the verge of getting things done,” said Ahmad. “We have all the funds for [land development] plus more.”
The first stage of development will cost an estimated 1.5 million dollars.
While the second stage is not yet fully funded, Ahmad is confident that upon seeing work commence, the community will give even more than before.
“We are very confident that when we come to the second stage when people see things on the ground the donations will be doubled and tripled,” he said.
While the financial support has been coming in, the process that has led up to the April 28th groundbreaking required penny pinching and that subsequently impacted the speed in which things got done.
“We don’t have deep pockets so we didn’t have the luxury to hire a contractor who would do everything for you. We, like many other centers, had people from the community come out and come together and divided out the work and so that took longer than expected,” said Ahmad.
Building a new center from ground up provided its share of disagreements and heated conversations but Ahmad said the development committee made certain to keep the community informed and involved throughout the entire process in order to make the long process an exercise in strength building rather than a case study in masjid conflicts.
“We did the process together through which we involved the community and kept them involved through various stages of the process,” he said. “We presented schematics and layouts to the community.”
Members of the community were brought on board as reviewers and representatives.
“There were a couple of sisters who were very excited about how the classrooms should look like so they were very involved,” Ahmad said. “We really think that people will be very happy once they see it.”
Groundbreaking on the new ICM center will take place on April 28th 2012 and be accompanied by a fundraising event.