Ten months after the Naperville City Council unanimously approved plans for the Islamic Center of Naperville’s mosque complex on 248th Avenue, a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday launched the start of construction.
Islamic Center President Kashif Fakhruddin said the elders and leaders started the journey with its first center in Naperville 31 years ago.
Three decades later, ICN members stood on the site of their fourth center at 3540 248th Avenue.
“As a community we have waited patiently for this day. We have donated to this project. Some of us have moved into this area hoping that this facility will be built very soon,” Fakhruddin said.
The mosque project ultimately brought the community closer together, he said.
“We hope and pray that this project will continue to strengthen our relationship with our community, our neighbors and our new neighbors. And with all the supporters and partners that we collaborate with, we hope and pray that this project will continue to do so,” Fakhruddin said.
Besides ICN leaders, families and project team members, Naperville City Council members and staff and community allies attended Saturday’s event.
City Manager Doug Krieger, speaking on behalf of the mayor and council, said the expanded future of ICN is a symbol of hope for the entire community.
“The community service, community building, interfaith activities and civic engagement ICN brings to Naperville builds bridges within the community as well as throughout Naperville,” Krieger said.
The mosque will provide another avenue to increase these opportunities, he said.
“We’re thrilled to watch ICN grow over the last three decades, and it’s been substantial. You guys have given so much to the community, and we are looking forward to having that continued great relationship with you,” Krieger said.
ICN has owned the 13.3-acre parcel for more than a decade and reached a point where it was ready to build a religious facility.
Hearings before the Planning and Zoning Commission on the proposed 248th Avenue mosque began in January 2021.
More than 500 people spoke and thousands more signed online petitions of support and opposition. At one point, the commission had to limit speakers to 3 minutes so everyone who wanted to voice an opinion had the opportunity.
After 15 meetings held over nine months, the commission voted 6-1 in October 2021 to recommend the Naperville City Council allow the Islamic Center to build a worship hall, school, multipurpose hall and gymnasium in phases over several years.
Included in the commission’s recommendation were a dozen conditions aimed at appeasing some of the concerns about traffic, parking, occupancy, fire safety and noise raised by residents of neighboring subdivisions over the course of the public hearing.
Some of the requirements are dependent on the completion of the 248th Avenue widening project. Construction on the roadway is expected to begin in 2026 and last for about 12 months.
Since council approval last November, ICN completed required engineering plans and secured necessary site permits to commence construction.
The facility is expected to be completed by October 2023.
Community members can get involved by purchasing a brick for $100, which will be used in the project.