Construction of the Community Center (located at 2809 West Maryland Avenue in Phoenix) was completed in 1988. More than half an acre out of the total 2.5 acres of land was reserved for building a religious center. By the time the loan for the Community Center was paid off in 1994, the fast growing Indo-American community was drawing larger attendees for the events at the Center and it was becoming clear to us that we needed more space for parking and other facilities.
The Foundation’s Board of Directors formed a “Temple Feasibility Committee” in 1999. The committee determined the financial requirements needed to build a temple and located suitable land as well. In the early stages of planning itself, they wanted to ensure that the Community Center operations and finances would not be impacted by the building of a religious center.
Fortunately, a group of community members (most of whom are active Foundation members) agreed to partner with the Foundation to purchase approximately 4.5 acres of land directly across the street from the Community Center. To reduce the operational and financial impact to the community center, Bharatiya Ekta Mandir of Arizona (BEMA) was established as a non-profit organization in the year 2001. The intention was to develop the religious center and make the Temple project successful before bringing BEMA under the Foundation umbrella.
The 4.5 acre temple land was procured and paid off in 2002 due to the generosity of more than 50 families who donated for the cause. BEMA hired a reputed architect and formed a design team to develop the temple concept. The temple was appropriately named “Ekta Mandir” reflecting our vision to keep the community united.
Our thanks to the more than 200 families who have financially contributed towards the construction of the Ekta Mandir with a total built in area of 12310 square foot. The remaining funds have been financed by a major bank and personal loans from community members. The total cost for the phase I is around $5.6 million.
We are pleased to see that the Indo-American Foundation’s vision to provide the Indo-American community with a campus of social and religious services has become a reality on a more than 7-acre campus.
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