As soon as a year from now, Muslims in southwest Riverside County could be meeting in their new house of worship.
Construction on a mosque in Temecula was marked by another recent milestone. The Nicolas Road site was abuzz with construction activity this week after the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley met an important Dec. 1 deadline.
City of Temecula permit stipulations gave ICTV until Dec. 1 to pour a concrete slab for phase one, which is a 4,250-square-foot building that will serve as a meeting place for the local Muslim community until the larger, more permanent building that is part of phase two of the project is completed.
A groundbreaking was held in October after the mosque plans were approved by Temecula City Council in January 2011.
While Temecula city officials could not immediately be reached this week to confirm the deadline had officially been met, the head of the mosque’s building committee breathed a huge sigh of relief.
“That was the main focus, all the energy was going into meeting that deadline,” said Moamer Shurrab, who in April was elected to a two-year term on the board of directors for ICTV.
Shurrab said the local Muslim community is now regrouping to determine what it will take financially to complete the first building by December 2013.
“That is the plan. It all depends on the financial situation and the donations that come from the community,” Shurrab said. “We have to come together ourselves to see exactly what is it going to take. Just like any nonprofit organization you live off of donations.”
ICTV became a registered nonprofit in December 1998, during the same year five local Muslim families began meeting in their homes and eventually rented commercial space in Temecula to conduct regular Friday prayer.
In November 2011, the group, which holds Friday prayer, moved its meeting place from a 6,000-square-foot space on Rio Nedo in Temecula to an 8,000-square-foot space on Hobie Circle in Murrieta.
Since 2008, the group has been working with the city of Temecula to get its building plans approved for the 4.3-acre site on Nicolas Road that it purchased in 2000.
That led to a series of public hearings—the last of which was the longest Temecula city council meeting on record.
In the end, the group retained its right to build on its land.
Had the Dec. 1 deadline not been met, it would have been a setback. Another round of public notices would have had to be sent out, resulting in more hearings.
The funds for the project have come from its members.
“We have been doing fundraising over the years. We have raised a substantial amount of money, but we don’t know how far that is going to carry us. In our community there are a lot of people out of jobs.”
Nonetheless, excitement is in the air.
“For so many years we have been working toward it...The dream is here for so many people who have been worshiping in warehouses.”
No completion date has been set for the larger, 21,000-square feet building that will eventually adjoin the first building. Before phase one can open, Shurrab explained there will be landscape placed on the site of the larger building. A water retention basin sits on the property fronting Nicolas Road, diffusing the problem of the project being in an area prone to flooding.
In the meantime, Shurrab said he and the other six members of the board of directors, including Chairman Emad Rasheed, will be weighing their financial options.
“We have to look at different options. Another option is to maybe take a loan. You can not just stop the project.”