How close are the local followers of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, leader of the Transcendental Meditation movement, to building three proposed peace palaces in Northeast Ohio?

Cleveland Plain Dealer/December 21, 2007

Members of the Global Country of World Peace said they are getting closer to their goal of starting a $13 million project building peace palaces in Strongsville, Parma and Mayfield Heights.

Since losing a court battle this year with Mayfield Heights over the city's refusal to approve variances to build a peace palace on a commercial development site, the group's followers revised and submitted another plan. They expect to meet with the city, said Thomas Murach, director of the Maharishi Invincibility Center in Rocky River.

Murach said the group hopes to get the green light from the city's Planning Commission to build a 10,000-square-foot rest and wellness center where they plan to educate people about Vedic principles and transcendental meditation.

Maharishi and his followers want to build 3,000 peace palaces across the globe where participants will be taught about nutrition, yoga and the cosmic universe.

Murach said the organization has 10,000 to 15,000 followers in Ohio. It is awaiting approval for site plans and permits to build offices and educational centers in Strongsville and Parma.

Officials in the municipalities where the group wants to build have received site planning proposals. Murach said the group hopes to break ground in the spring or early summer.

Mayfield Heights Mayor Gregory Costabile said he has heard very little from the organization since it filed a lawsuit against the city. Costabile said he doesn't mind if the group builds a peace center as long as it complies with the city's rules.

"We've never had a problem with their plan or their beliefs," the mayor said. "It's always been because the building they wanted to build would have been too close to the street and a neighboring lot."

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