Land for mosque to be annexed by Naperville

Here is an update on a story I’ve been following: Naperville agreed earlier this week to annex a parcel of land on its southern border that is intended to be used for a mosque.

Naperville officials agreed to annex land owned by the Islamic Center of Naperville, capping several months of resistance among neighbors of the parcel in the southwest part of the suburb.

Representatives of the religious group say the 14 acres along 248th Avenue between 95th and 103rd streets, could be home to a mosque in five to 20 years.

For now, the Islamic Center plans to use a house on the property — formerly owned by HOPE United Church of Christ — as a residence and office and may occasionally hold small prayer gatherings there.

For several months, the proposed annexation has generated protests by residents in the nearby Tall Grass and Penncross Knolls subdivisions who have said they are worried about issues like noise, traffic and parking once the mosque is built.

See the earlier post here.

I suppose I am still a little perplexed by the opposition this proposed mosque has encountered. I used this as an example in my American Suburbanization class this fall along with several other recent cases regarding proposed mosques in DuPage County. At this point, the building is still years away and the main question was about whether the land should be annexed into Naperville. One quote reported from a public meeting about the annexation is still in my head:

“I’d prefer a trailer park,” said Richard Wylie, a nearby resident. “It would be a lower frequency of people coming and going.”

Is there really anybody in Naperville who can really say this with a straight face? A trailer park in Naperville? Beyond the fringes of the metropolitan region, is there any community that would openly desire a trailer park? I’m not saying these are necessarily bad places but many suburban communities would want to avoid these because of their image.

I’ll keep watching this to see what happens. At this point, it sounds like the annexation will go forward and the landowners will continue to think about a possible mosque for the future.