Yogi's group chooses 3 Cuyahoga sites for 'Peace Palaces'

Cleveland Plain Dealer/November 17, 2006
By Joan Mazzolini

The movement founded by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi plans to build what it calls Peace Palaces in Parma, Strongsville and Mayfield Heights, hoping to further its goal of world peace by "unifying all nations in happiness, prosperity, invincibility and perfect health."

The group, Global Country of World Peace, plans 3,000 such peace palaces worldwide but chooses sites carefully, based on "harmony with Natural Law." The sites can't be near graveyards or high-tension electric lines. They can't be on hills that block the sunrise.

The nearly identical 12,000-square-foot palaces became fodder on Thursday for an unusual discussion by Cuyahoga County commissioners, whose approval was needed for the group to get a loan.

The group wants to borrow $51 million to build peace palaces, through the sale of bonds by the Colorado Health Facilities Authority.

Cuyahoga County is not responsible for the tax-exempt financing. Global Country of World Peace has already bought four to five acres each in Parma and Mayfield Heights and is arranging for a site in Strongsville.

The group is headquartered in Maharishi Vedic City, Iowa, which was incorporated in 2001 and is near Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa.

Both the town and school were developed as centers for transcendental meditation, which gained renown when the Beatles became students of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

The peace palaces are expected to cost $13 million.

The rest of the $51 million might be used to build palaces elsewhere. In an advertisement about the bond sale, the group mentioned 13 other locations, including Arlington, Texas, and St. Paul, Minn., according to bond attorney Susan Price of Peck, Shaffer & Williams in Columbus.

It's not clear how many of the palaces have opened.

Fifteen people likely would work at each of the centers, which would focus on helping people with chronic disorders and stress relief.

"The natural health facilities will offer a broad range of 52 programs," Richard Quinn, Global Country representative, said.

Transcendental meditation and other programs would be available, as would day spa activities. Quinn told the commissioners, who had numerous questions, that the group isn't a religion and follows ayurveda, an ancient Indian healing system.

The group bought land on Huffman Road in Parma earlier this year for $1.025 million, according the Cuyahoga County Auditor's Web site. It also bought land on Lander Road in Mayfield Heights for $1.3 million.

No Strongsville property is listed. Price said she did not know if the sale there had been completed.

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