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Ahiska American Community Center will open on Nov 30
The Ahiska American Community Center, including a mosque, will open on Nov. 30.
On November 30, the Ahiska Meskhetian Turks American Community Center, located at 1306 E. Fifth St., will hold its official grand opening for local and national government officials and Turkish leaders from around the world.
"Official greetings will be followed by dinner and entertainment,” said the center’s president, Islom Shakhbandarov.
The Ahiska Turks community in Dayton has grown over the years. In 2006, only six families from the community lived in Dayton. The Ahiska Turks Community Center was organized in 2009, and, within three years, 400 families from other states resettled here, Shakhbandarov said.
"Ahiska Turks have revitalized the Old North Dayton neighborhood, having purchased and renovated abandoned housing, and we bought land from the Riverside community to open the biggest American Muslim cemetery,” he said.
Kiser and Ruskin PreK-8 schools have enrolled many of the young Ahiska students, as has Stebbins High School and other schools in the area.
In 2009, when the center was organized, the Ahiska Turks leased a building on Stanley Avenue to assist its growing community; in April, the former Bomberger Park was purchased from the city to house a permanent community center.
"The building has been renovated and one of the rooms reconstructed for the mosque,” said Shakhbandarov. The center now offers classes for karate and wrestling in the gymnasium, rooms for women’s committee meetings and charity work, Koranic and English lessons, a day care center, and space for numerous special faith events.
Since the purchase of the site, Dayton officials have made an official visit to Turkey, and Turkish groups from the Ukraine and Turkey have visited the Dayton center.
Although the grand opening will be closed to the public, residents are welcome to visit on Sundays after 2 p.m. for tea, or to stop by the office, which is open daily.
The center’s theme is "Creating a Unity among Diversity,” and, although ethnic and faith-based, it serves not only Ahiska Meskhetian Turks refugees and immigrants, but under-served communities in Montgomery County.
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