November 22, 2010
Park51 Applies for $5M in 9/11 Recovery Money to Build Mosque Near Ground Zero
By Julie Shapiro
LOWER MANHATTAN — The developers of the Park51 Islamic center are seeking federal post-9/11 recovery money to get their project off the ground.
Park51 recently applied for a $5 million grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., which has distributed over $2 billion in federal funds since 9/11, sources confirmed to DNAinfo Monday.
The grant would partly go toward programs at the planned $100 million mosque and community center two blocks north of the World Trade Center site, including domestic violence prevention, Arabic and other foreign language classes, services for homeless veterans, two multi-cultural art exhibits and immigration services, Park51 said on its blog Monday.
The Park51 center "is desperately needed in Lower Manhattan," the blog post continued. "This is why community leaders and the residents who live there universally support this project."
The grant application was first reported by The Daily Beast.
Park51 is just one of 265 downtown cultural and community organizations that applied for the LMDC's $17 million fund.
In all, the LMDC received over $175 million worth of requests for the money this month and will make a decision early next year, LMDC spokesman John De Libero said.
"We are now turning to the challenging but important task of sorting through the applications to identify those that address long-standing community and cultural needs," De Libero said in a statement.
Julie Menin, an LMDC board member, said the agency is aiming to give out grants between $100,000 and $1 million, but it is possible that a particularly worthy cause could receive more.
"We’re going to very carefully vet every single application," said Menin, who is a member of the panel reviewing the proposals. "It’s going to be very competitive."
After checking that the application meets basic criteria, Menin said she would look for projects that revitalize lower Manhattan, create jobs and are connected to the community.
The LMDC is allowed to award money to religious organizations, as long as the funds support secular facilities or programs.
Park51 is slated to include a gym, a pool, a theater and a culinary center, in addition to Muslim and interfaith programming spaces.
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