Values-based club hopes to open in Naperville shopping center

 
 
Updated 8/13/2019 10:56 AM

A group of like-minded families from Naperville and surrounding areas hopes to open a social club to meditate and discuss shared values.

The proposed location for Sri Panchamukha Hanuman Religious Social Club, in unit 146 of a strip mall at 1568 W. Ogden Ave., is under review by the city, which would need to grant a conditional use for the meeting place to occupy a storefront within a commercial area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The planning and zoning commission gave unanimous approval to the group's request, with Commissioner Bianca Morin saying it sounds like a nice concept for a community center.

Narasimha Murthy Oruganti of Naperville, a member of the Sri Panchamukha Hanuman club, said the group has been established for about five years with roughly 25 members from Bolingbrook, Lisle, Chicago and even the Los Angeles and Minneapolis areas.

The group is not a religious one, per se, but Oruganti said it does discuss common Hindu values such as honesty, goodwill, the pursuit of health and happiness. and the importance of giving back to society.

"We are a meditation club. A like-minded, scholarly club," he said. "We do all this to promote values."

The planning and zoning commission recommended the city council approve the club's request to establish its meeting space within the commercial area, with a condition that the permission is good only for this use, not for any other social purpose that could look to use the same storefront.

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A report from Erin Venard of the city's planning services team said although the club's use is defined as a cultural instead of a commercial one, it fits well within the area, which is home to the Patel Brothers Indian grocery store as well as a cleaners, an animal hospital, a barbecue restaurant, a bowling alley and several car-related businesses.

Oruganti said his club also likes the location because of its proximity to expressways and a nearby Walmart. Meeting in the storefront will allow up to 45 people to gather more easily if the club grows than if members continued gathering in each other's homes.

"We want a common place to meet. That's the basic objective," Oruganti said. "In this location, we can eat, we can go shopping ... It's fantastic."

Oruganti said the club does not have a target date to occupy its proposed space. But if granted city council approval during a later meeting, members will work with an architect and tradespeople to add bathrooms, replace carpeting and make electrical upgrades.

Once the social club opens, Oruganti said, volunteers will handle operations and host events.

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