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Ridgewood Nepalese Society Planning 3-Story Community Center on Hancock Street

The community and cultural center will be located at 16-47 Hancock St. (Google Maps)

Feb. 27, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan

The Ridgewood Nepalese Society has its sights set on constructing a new community and cultural center on Hancock Street, according to plans filed with the Department of Buildings last week.

The new building, totaling roughly 8,500 square feet, would be located at 16-47 Hancock St., and rise to a height of three stories. The site would include a kitchen and dining room, and open prayer hall space on the upper three floors.

While the Nepalese community is largely Hindu, Rajesh Bhatta, Vice President of the Wyckoff Avenue-based Ridgewood Nepalese Society, says the center will be open to people of all faiths.

Bhatta hopes the center will allow the Ridgewood Nepalese Society, founded in 2003, to continue with their community activism and involvement, but on a larger scale.

“We have been doing blood donation programs every year since 2003,” Bhatta said. “We have been involved as a community in cleaning parks and cleaning streets.”

Some activities at the center are already mapped out, but the possibilities for the new space are still being worked out.

“We’ll be able to help senior citizens who are able to come there,” Bhatta said. “We’ll cook for them and feed them there. We could probably start a daycare center there, with our community having all these issues with daycare that is expensive.”

The center will also serve as a cultural experience and learning opportunity for Ridgewood residents, with plans to offer Nepali language classes in the future.

The project has been years in the making, with the society first acquiring the vacant lot in December of 2011 for $419,000. They hopes to gain approval on the construction plans by May and break ground in June. If everything stays on schedule, the center could open as soon as May 2020.

Bhatta says they are unsure at this point whether they will continue to occupy their current space at 789 Wyckoff Ave. once the new center is complete. 

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