New Jersey Hindus Set to Propose Vast Cultural Complex

May 12, 2006

Source: The Times of Trenton

On May 12, 2006 The Times of Trenton reported, "A proposed $142 million spiritual and commercial complex planned by a Hindu sect on 152 undeveloped acres near the New Jersey Turnpike will get a public airing later this month. The complex, in development for more than two years, could prove a powerful draw for central New Jersey's Indian population if plans suggested by the B.A.P.S. sect -- Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha -- are well received during the public meeting May 25. Preliminary plans call for a house of worship, assembly hall, shopping center, food court, restaurant, library, research facility and monument as well as centers for conferences and exhibitions, youth, yoga and meditation. 'This is the first proposal of its kind in New Jersey,' said Anthony 'Skip' Cimino of the Manalapan-based Schoor DePalma Engineering, a firm hired by B.A.P.S. 'The organization has deep roots in India and wants to be a good community citizen,' said Cimino, who is a former Hamilton school board member, Mercer County freeholder, state assemblyman and state personnel director. Before plans for the complex on land near Turnpike Exit 8 are submitted to the township government, the B.A.P.S. sect wants township residents to ask questions, express concerns and learn what the project will involve. According to the proposal, the complex would be open to the public, and more than half its land would be preserved as open space... Mironov said the complex would be 'much more than a house of worship' but the buildings would cover 'only 20 of the 152 acres.'"