Community Update on JPM Facility

November 22, 2016 | John Hardwick

The Jewish Federation remains committed to the development of a new facility in Oak Park that serves as a center for Jewish life in the area. The process has taken longer than expected due to the complexity of planning the new structure, securing tenants and ensuring that the facility remains financially sustainable while meeting the needs of the surrounding Jewish community. Although this process is not yet complete, there are several updates:

We anticipate construction of the new facility to begin next spring. As we reported earlier, the building costs will be funded by a private donor. The facility, which will retain the Jimmy Prentis Morris name, will provide space for communal use, programming and events, as well as housing Jewish agencies that serve the area. Among these, the Jewish Community Center of Metro Detroit plans to offer a range of programming, consistent with its efforts to establish a ‘JCC without walls’ model that serves the entire Jewish community. The building will also offer a comfortable environment for local residents to socialize and enjoy informal activities.

The existing structure will be torn down in preparation for the new building. Demolition work is scheduled to begin by mid- to late-December, and will proceed with the utmost care and sensitivity to the residents of the campus and surrounding neighborhood. Throughout this transition, the campus will continue to be maintained with campus-wide mobile security, maintenance, landscaping and other environmental safeguards and supports.

As of now, we have not identified a financially viable plan to operate a pool. Current projections anticipate a significant financial shortfall to run and maintain the pool, which would create an unsustainable financial burden to the community. Over the past year we have exhaustively explored both fundraising and operational solutions and will continue to do so. The option to add a pool adjacent to the new JPM structure—when a financially viable model is realized—will remain open, allowing us to otherwise move forward on all other aspects of the project.

“A tremendous amount of time, energy and resources have been invested in the development of a new community facility on the A. Alfred Taubman campus, and we greatly look forward to the reopening of JPM,” says Lawrence A. Wolfe, President of the Jewish Federation. “We also want to acknowledge and thank the members of the community who have expressed their concerns and advocated on behalf of the neighborhood.”

“We are exceptionally fortunate to have the opportunity to create a new and lasting Jewish facility to serve our community,” adds Scott Kaufman, CEO of the Jewish Federation. “It has taken us a long time to get to this point but we have never given up on the vision of a new facility in Oak Park that embodies the warm, communal spirit of JPM and serves the needs of the surrounding area.”

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