Springfield mosque gets $500K in upgrades

A Springfield mosque is getting about $500,000 in renovations and upgrades in hopes of bringing the community together.

Renovations and additions to the South Burnett Road property include a new half-sized soccer field, basketball court, a playground, additional lighting, picnic shelters, a storage area and upgrades to the old mosques that sits behind the new Masjid Al-Madina on Burnett Road that was part of a $1 million building project in 2013.

The latest construction project will be completed at the end of May or early June, said Yunus Lasania, Masjid Al-Madina’s full-time imam or religious leader. Masjid is Arabic for mosque.

“This should be a good facility for generations to come. Basically, children will be able to come to the mosque, go outside and play and shoot hoops, play basketball. In the summer, we have quite a few picnics. We want to invite our neighbors, the community at large to come and join us,” he said.

When the original mosque was built in 1980, it was the first in Ohio built specifically as a mosque, according to Lasania.

The old Masjid Al-Madina needed bigger prayer facilities and wasn’t easily accessible to the elderly or people with disabilities because of its steps and lack of ramps.

“We didn’t have enough room,” he said. “Now everything is on just one floor, there’s no steps.”

The congregation raised $1 million toward the building project through bake sales, garage sales and other fundraisers.

After the building project was completed, local Muslims praised the new mosque.

“It’s nice to finally have one of our own that looks like a mosque,” Saif Ahmed, a Springfield resident said then.

Lasania said the congregation continues to raise money for the recent renovations.

There remains an open invitations to non-Muslims in the community to attend prayer each Friday afternoon.

Lasania said those who worship at the mosque hope the renovations and additions encourage others to participate in prayer and other activities at the mosque.

“The community outside is very responsive, very nice and very kind to all of us. We really, really appreciate that,” Lasania said.

The mosque also donates to the Springfield Soup Kitchen and frequently participates in clothing drives for those in need.

“We just collected a large amount of clothes for the poor and the needy in Springfield … Many of the boxes are brand new clothes we just collected for the community. Socks, wool hats, blankets,” Lasania said.

About 15 boxes of clothes, blankets and other items on Friday were provided to Fred Stegner, who owns and operates the Springfield Soup Kitchen, 830 W. Main St.

The Soup Kitchen serves about 250 people each Monday and Wednesday.

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