INSIDE: DETROIT/ U.S.WHY? — BECAUSE IT WIDENS THE CIRCLE;
BUSINESS/ TAPPER'S IS MOVING AND DOUBLING ITS SIZE.
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THE JEWISH NEWS
7 N SAN 5755
APR L 7
ALAN HITSKY ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Lathrup Village residents speak out against a
developer's plans for Akiva property.
JILL DAVIDSON SKLAR STAFF WRITER
f the historical society of Lathrup
Village has its way, Akiva Hebrew Day
School will not be able to sell its prop-
erty to a developer who offered $1.3 mil-
If the developer has his way, the build-
ing that now services students will be lev-
eled and a strip mall, featuring businesses
that cater to the needs of Lathrup Village
residents, will be erected.
About 100 society members and citi-
zens gathered for a village council meet-
ing Monday night. Residents voiced strong
protests about possible fiiture development
of the Akiva property and shared emo-
tional memories of the red-brick building
on Southfield Road.
Speakers urged the council to deny re-
zoning rights to developer Jeff Surnow.
Mr. Surnow is expected soon to present
plans to the council for a strip mall hous-
ing retail shops and a drug store.
"Why on Earth would we want another
mall?" resident Richard Bowes said.
'Within a mile from here we have four of
The former elementary school was built
in 1927. It closed in 1980 when the school
population declined. In 1984, Akiva pur-
chased the building for $450,000 from the
Southfield School District. Since then,
Akiva's enrollment has grown to 350, forc-
ing the school to look elsewhere for class-
Leaders for Akiva would like to move
the school to a larger building but have
been unable to find one that would suit the
geographic makeup of the student body,
90 percent of whom come from Oak Park
and Southfield. There are no school build-
ings in those or other neighboring districts
available for sale.
The local historical
society opposes the
sale of the
The school is vying for the right to buy
the Agency for Jewish Education building
on 12 Mile Road between Lahser and
Evergreen. No decision will be made on
the fate of that building until later this
month when a Federation of Metropolitan
Detroit day-school task force will deliver
The building Akiva currently uses is al-
most 40 years older than the AJE location,
one reason why the Federation/United
Jewish Foundation-owned building is more
The old structure in Lathrup Village
was never designated a historical site ei-
ther by the state or national registers. A
commission appointed by the Lathrup
Village council in the early 1990s made
recommendations for a historic district but
did not receive funding from the council,
historical society member Dr. Fred Stoye
A historical designation would protect
the building from demolition.
Akiva president Dr. David Beneson said
the school studied the possibility of ex-
panding the building but found it too cost-
ly. To remove asbestos, equip the school
for the handicapped and replace an ailing
heating system and a leaking roof would
cost about $1 million.
"And that is just to bring it up to code,"
Dr. Beneson said. "That wouldn't cover
Instead of investing the time and mon-
ey into the decaying building, Akiva de-
cided in November 1994 to sell the
property to Mr. Surnow. A clause in the
sale contract provides an escape for Mr.
LANDMARK page 12
Funk wins its second
consecutive Michigan Region
AZA basketball championship.
STEVE STEIN STAFF WRITER
Story on page 91
indsor's 1,800 Jews are not
looking for a health club at
their Jewish Community
Centre. They want a family
With the help of a community-wide
survey that provided those results,
some 4.5 years of planning, and a
$676,000 grant from the Province of
Ontario, the Windsor community is set
to enhance their center.
The renovations to the 35-year-old
building on Ouellette, just north of
Jackson Park, are expected to take six
months. They will include remodeled
offices, meeting space and classrooms,
a facelift for the gymnasium, which
also serves as a theater and multipur-
pose room, and a new heating and cool-
"We have really been looking for-
ward to this," said building committee
chairman Hariet Whiteman.
Windsor JCC President Ted
Hochberg expects to finish raising
the Jewish community's $1.3 million
share of the cost within the next
three months. The campaign is being
WINDSOR JCC page 8
Republican Arlen Specter
wants to be the first Jew
in the White House.
Story on page 42