MERRILLVILLE -- Spurned by some Chicago suburbs, Muslims are planning a
large scale subdivision near the Lake-Porter county line.
Congregants of the Northwest Indiana Islamic Center have been quietly
buying land adjacent to the center in Merrillville with the dream of
building a large residential subdivision modeled after one of Northwest
Indiana's most prestigious communities, but centered around a mosque
instead of a golf course clubhouse.
"It would be like a Briar Ridge (in Schererville/Dyer). A lot of
subdivisions, like Briar Ridge, have country clubs but we're giving buyers
an option to have a mosque as a centerpiece," said Northwest Indiana
Islamic Center spokesman Ali Khan.
He said the subdivision would be built on 300 to 400 acres to the west of
the center, 9803 Colorado St.
Plans are to build high-end to medium-priced houses as well as high-end
apartments on surrounding acreage owned by members of the local Islamic center.
Some Chicago suburbs, including Orland Park and Palos Heights, have found
themselves at odds with growing Muslim populations, but Muslim leaders in
Northwest Indiana said their favorable reception locally encouraged them to
plan to build their own community on open fields in Merrilville.
Even so, some Merrillville officials suggest the plan has obstacles to
cross before gaining approval, including extension of water and sewer lines
and concerns about increased traffic..