Chabad option is Harper Road
Center scraps plan on SOM Center
By BOB SANDRICK Staff Writer
June 29, 2000

The Chabad Jewish Center of Solon has withdrawn plans to build an 8,000-square-foot synagogue on SOM Center Road, just south of Cannon Road.
Instead, the Chabad Center next month will propose building a synagogue on Harper Road, just north of Route 422 and across from the Harper fire station.
The plans will be presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission July 11, Rabbi Zushe Greenberg of the Chabad Center said Tuesday.

Greenberg said the Chabad Center has purchased a 2½-acre parcel of land on Harper. The sale is contingent on the city approving the synagogue.
Under the new plan, the synagogue would grow to 10,500 square feet. It would contain a 188-seat sanctuary, four classrooms and a library. A playground and 64 parking spaces would be built on the site.
It would be the first synagogue in Solon.

"We're really excited about it," Greenberg said. "And many people in the community are excited about this news. Everyone who has heard about it is happy that finally there will be a synagogue in Solon."

Greenberg said Temple Emanu El's proposed move to Solon has nothing to do with the decision to withdraw the SOM Center plan. Temple Emanu El, located in University Heights, has an option to purchase land on SOM just north of Route 422. (See story, page A1.)

"Basically, the Harper Road location is a lot more convenient, physically and financially," Greenberg's wife, Mirian, said. "It's right across from the fire station.
"The spot on SOM had drainage and traffic issues," Mirian added. "SOM Center was so narrow there. It was a big headache."
The Chabad Center, established by the Greenbergs in 1991, has been located in an office building at 32915 Aurora Road for about three years.

"We are building the synagogue because we are very short of space," Greenberg said. "The services are overflowing. Our preschool and Sunday School are really growing and there is a lot of demand."

"Just to accommodate this demand, we decided we must do something on a bigger scale," Greenberg said. "By the time this thing is built, it is not going to be big enough."
Greenberg said between 60 and 70 people attend services every weekend. The number rises to 200 during the high holy days.

"Since people have heard we are purchasing the land, more people are coming," Greenberg said.
Greenberg said he was not certain when construction would begin. He said the city still must approve the plan.
"It's too early to know now," Greenberg said.

The Greenbergs in February presented a conceptual plan for a synagogue on nine acres off SOM across from Springside Lane.  After hearing the Greenbergs' presentation, the planning commission and Planning Director Don Lannoch advised them to proceed.  However, the commission said storm water drainage needed to be addressed. According to a Feb. 22 Engineering Department memo, the conceptual plan did not show storm-water detention.
Residents in the Sherbrook Park subdivision, directly east of the former site, as well as those in Wellingford Estates, located directly north, were concerned that their homes might be adversely affected by storm water if the plan did not include detention.

Councilman Ed Suit, at the Feb. 29 planning commission meeting, said none of the residents objected to a synagogue on the SOM site.
But Suit said a steep hill lies between the site and Sherbrook, with Sherbrook at the bottom of the slope. He said Sherbrook residents were concerned that storm water runoff to their homes would increase with construction.
The Chabad Center provides religious classes and social activities for Jewish families in the Chagrin Valley. Although not a conventional synagogue or temple, the center holds worship services every weekend.

Although the Greenbergs are Orthodox Jews, participants at the Chabad Center are mainly Reform, Conservative or unaffiliated Jews, Greenberg said.
Greenberg said the Chabad Center's inclusiveness would not change once the synagogue is built.

"We will have a home for every Jew, regardless of affiliation or level of commitment," Greenberg said. "Our philosophy is to offer Judaism to everyone at everyone's level, and everyone takes what they are comfortable with."
© 2000 Sun Newspapers