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Lex. Board of Adjustment Approves Construction of Islamic Center

Lexington’s Urban County Board of Adjustment approved a permit Friday for the construction of an Islamic community center at 1240 Armstrong Mill Road.  The proposed facility would be three stories tall, consisting of a prayer hall, multipurpose room, gymnasium, and indoor track.  In the hearing, architect Christopher McCoy says many people had expressed a need for the center, including its prime sponsor, Mahmoud Shalash.

“This facility is really needed for the Muslim community in particular who live nearby.  There are many families that live in the area.  There’s been efforts for a long time looking for property that would fill the need.  There are a couple of other mosques in town.  They are run by different organizations but all of them are at capacity or need more capacity.”

The opposition was comprised of local neighborhood associations, particularly River Park.  One of their members, Kausha Miller, said the facility would aggravate traffic, particularly since the end of weekly prayer services coincided with the release of students from local elementary schools.  She also said the facility doesn’t match up with the kind of neighborhood improvements envisioned in the  Armstrong Mill Small Area Plan, which was created in September. 

“This neighborhood’s been around a long time, it’s developed, it’s got older homes and this is one of the last areas where we actually have an opportunity to put something in that would help revitalize and stabilize the neighborhood.  This proposal does not," she said.

When complete, the facility, including parking lots, will take up about 1/5 of the 9.4 acre property. Vehicle access will come from Armstrong Mill Road and Accord Drive. 

Chase Cavanaugh first got on the air as a volunteer reader for Central Kentucky Radio Eye, a local news service for the visually impaired. He began reporting for WUKY in February 2012, after receiving his Master’s degree from the University of Kentucky’s Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce.