Ground Zero mosque site.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Officials from the planned Islamic center near Ground Zero in New York have requested financial grants from an agency which aids Lower Manhattan in its rehabilitation from the September 11 al-Qaida terror attacks, the New York Times reported on Monday.
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Directors of the Park51, which serves as a community center and mosque, have asked for an estimated five million dollars, according to a source with information about the grant application.
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The request was filed with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation two weeks ago, according to Sharif el-Gamal, the developer of the center. The money, which would be extracted from two billion dollars worth of federal funds supervised by the corporation, will support domestic violence prevention programs, language classes, exhibitions of art and other social services held by Park51.
“Park51 remains committed to exploring all sources of revenue and funding to build the community center in Lower Manhattan,” Gamal said. “It is important to note that this community center will provide hundreds of construction jobs over the next few years and when opened will provide 150 permanent jobs.”
Gamal said he intends to raise $140 million dollars, needed to construct the center, from donors, current paying members and lobbying corporations and philanthropists.
The corporation said that competition for the latest batch of funding, a total of about $17 million, is "expected to be intense." Two-hundred-and-fifty-five groups had applied for a total of $170 million, said Julie Menin, a corporation board member.
To increase their chances of receiving the grants, the applicants will need to display a “nexus to revitalizing the World Trade Center site and its surroundings,” Menin said. The authorizing panel will favor favor proposals which encourage the creation of jobs and alliances with other Lower Manhattan organizations, she added.
“Because the economy is in the state it’s in, we’ve had more applications than ever,” Menin continued. “There are going to be very tough choices.”
Officials from the center have requested funds for six different
programs. The money was needed to purchase equipment, pay building fees,
bring art exhibitions, fund counselors working with domestic abuse
victims, assist new immigrants and owners of small businesses and help
homeless war veterans who are searching for employment and struggling
Menin said it was not uncommon for a single organization to request more than one grant.
The center will be subject to aggressive federal reporting requirements if it receives the funding.