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Following year of false starts, Sikhs making progress on temple


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About seven years and three building site plans later, a religious group in Greenwood is watching construction workers build their temple.

The Sikh group at Gurdwara Shri Guru HarGobind Sahib Ji changes leadership every two years, and temple designs have changed as leaders have come and gone, delaying the project year after year.

Now a concrete foundation is in place and construction should finish by the end of the year, project manager Chanchal Singh said.

 

They’ve been working on plans for the temple since 2007. Construction was further delayed this year because of severe winter weather, Singh said. Now the wait is over.

“We are excited. Everyone’s excited. Even the kids are excited,” he said.

The current building is a house where the about 400-member Sikh group has been meeting for services, despite people overflowing into multiple rooms and no space for weddings.

The group hasn’t decided what to do with the house after the temple is built, Singh said.

The house at 1050 S. Graham Road doesn’t have outward opening exterior doors or illuminated exits, which are fire safety requirements for buildings where large groups gather.

And a structure added to the house to provide more meeting space was built without the group getting a city permit required to build it, Greenwood planning director Bill Peeples said.

The city will require that addition to be torn down when the new temple is completed, he said.

The new temple was designed to follow city and state rules, including fire safety code. The about 12,000-square-foot building is to be constructed in a traditional Indian style, with domes at the corners and above the main entrance. The main part of the building will be divided into a prayer hall and a langar hall, where temple members will serve refreshments.

The Sikhs are paying for the $2 million temple with bank financing and with money that friends, family and congregation members have donated, Singh said.

The group obtained a building permit April 4, Peeples said. The new temple will be built on the same 8-acre property as the current one at Graham and Allen roads on the east side of Greenwood.

Sikhs practice Sikhism, a monotheistic religion that started in India.

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