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Letter: Possible Solution to Islamic Center Parking

Barring the Hillside Islamic Center’s moving to a new location, or being able to successfully work out an agreement with CVS for the use of CVS’s parking lot, I would like to offer a suggestion that might prove to be feasible. And it would avoid the problems created by expansion of the Islamic Center’s parking lot into a residential area and the demolishing of any residential structures.

Immediately north of the Islamic Center is an open area that includes an existing undeveloped triangle shaped piece of land as well as a short section of Clausen Place (road) between North Third Street and Hillside Avenue. The geometry of this configuration makes for decent sized trapezoid that is actually quite a bit larger than the currently proposed parking lot.

The idea is for the concerned parties and government offices involved to consider allowing the Islamic Center to purchase this short section of Clausen Place as well as the existing undeveloped triangle of land for the purpose of a parking lot. Traffic would also access the Islamic Center from Hillside Avenue.

This would mean that any parking lot expansion is in the direction of Hillside Avenue, not toward the residential area, and the present Islamic Center entrance on North Third Street, which is in a residential area, could be closed off, as well. North Third Street will no longer be used as a direct throughway to the Islamic Center’s parking lot, in the same manner that CVS’s parking lot cannot be directly accessed off of North Third Street.

A pretty useless space would seem to be put to good use, it deters through traffic on North Third Street, and helps to preserve, if not improve, the residential character of the area. The impacted short section of North Clausen would not be missed as a cut through route to North Third Street because North Third Street is presently directly accessed via Hillside Avenue, a short distance away.

In addition, with agreements in hand and thoughtful landscaping, such as the design of a so-called “pocket park,” the existing small undeveloped triangle of land on Hillside Avenue would not be missed and could be attractively incorporated into an overall development plan.

Stephen Cipot