'Peace palace' planned for Springs

Colorado Springs Gazette/December 1, 2006
By Debbie Kelley

“Peace palaces” promoting holistic health programs will be built in Colorado Springs and 20 other cities across the nation if the Colorado Health Facilities Authority approves a request for $51 million in revenue bonds Monday.

A nonprofit headquartered in Fairfield, Iowa, the Global Country of World Peace, will construct and operate the centers.

The local palace will cost up to $4.5 million and be located on 3 acres adjacent to Maharishi Ayurveda Products International Inc., a research, manufacturing and distribution center on Elkton Drive off Garden of the Gods Road. The privately held corporation produces a holistic health care line of Indian herbal supplements, teas, gourmet foods and beauty products. It also operates the Maharishi Enlightenment Center where Transcendental Meditation techniques and stress-relief programs are available.

Each peace center will be a 12,000 square foot, two-story building covered in white marble and will feature exhibition and lecture halls, offices, residential rooms and a dining hall. Health and wellness classes in the Ayurveda tradition of ancient health-care teachings and practices that originated in India will be offered. Ayurveda is Sanskrit for “science of life.”

Some of the other cities that will get peace palaces include St. Paul, Minn., Long Island, N.Y., Charlottesville, Va. and Mayfield Heights, Ohio. Three states, New York, Kansas and Texas, will have regional peace palaces.

Proceeds from the bonds also will be used to finance an 816-acre organic farm in Goshen, N.Y.

The bonds should be issued by the end of this year, said Jennifer Dunn, an independent financial advisor with Ponder & Co. in Chicago.

“We’ve done a financial review of the project and model and feel comfortable with it,” said Dunn, who is advising the authority.

The Colorado Health Facilities Authority, a Denver nonprofit that has a governor-appointed board but is not a government agency, issues more than $200 million in revenue bonds each year to health-related nonprofits, including nursing homes, assisted living centers and hospitals, according to executive director Corinne Johnson.

Because Colorado is a multi-state issuer of revenue bonds, the authority can approve bonds to out-of-state borrowers, Dunn said.

“When some of the bond proceeds will be spent on projects in Colorado, the authority will step up and help finance the whole thing. It’s a huge benefit to the borrower — otherwise they’d have to go through the process of issuing smaller bonds.”

Global Country of World Peace will be responsible for paying out the interest on the debt.

The organization plans to build a total of 3,000 peace centers in cities around the world.

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