Mosque proposal met with support, criticism in North Ridgeville

NORTH RIDGEVILLE, OH (WOIO) - North Ridgeville planning commissioners unanimously approved a motion Monday night to send plans for a mosque on Center Ridge Road to City Council. 

Many residents said they'd welcome a mosque to town, but the plans were also met with concern from some. 

"I'm trying to figure what the advantage it is to North Ridgeville to have a mosque come to the city?" said one North Ridgeville resident. 

Discussion got heated at times inside North Ridgeville City Hall, as plans for a Muslim community center and mosque were discussed during a special meeting. 

"It seems to me what I'm hearing, except from the Muslim community, are excuses for why this building should not be built. And they're excuses to cover up bigotry," said a North Ridgeville resident. 

A hundred people filled City Hall and outside stood dozens more. 

"There's a sign back here that says no Muslim mosque in Ridgeville," said another resident. 

The West Cleveland Muslim Association owns the seven acre site on Center Ridge Road. They want to add an 18,000 square foot community center and prayer hall. 

"I'd really like a place to go like this beautiful mosque that's being proposed to be built, and to be able to worship, just like anyone else would be able to," said a member of the Muslim community who addressed commissioners. 

Mayor David Gillock said the mosque meets zoning requirements. He personally asked commission to approve the motion. 

"The diversity will be good for our community and maybe some of these people that are negative just really don't understand. Give them the opportunity to get to know them a little better," he said. 

Despite support from many in the community, including the mayor, others made their concerns well known.

"Who's going to run the mosque? Is it ISIS?" asked a North Ridgeville citizen.

"My concern is flooding," said another. 

"I'm concerned about the traffic, we're already congested on Center Ridge Road bad," said a woman who lives in North Ridgeville. 

City Council meets April 2 to vote on the plans.

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