Maharishi opens centers
A little more than a month after Iowa City’s first Maharishi Enlightenment Center opened, project officials said they expect to open another location soon — at the Old Capitol Town Center.
“We wish we could have done these projects a little bit faster,” said Kent Boyum, co-director of the Peace Palace Project in Iowa City. “But we do have the one MEC open and we’ll have the second one in the mall open as soon as we can … hopefully in six to eight weeks.”
Boyum said the first MEC opened Nov. 12 in a suite at 205 E. Burlington St. These Maharishi Enlightenment Centers are like day spas that offer about 60 different products and services, including classes on transcendental meditation, massage therapy and various herbal and organic products.
“It was taking us a bit longer than we wanted to get that organized,” Boyum said of the Old Capitol location in a space north of Taco Bell on the mall’s first floor. “That’s why we ended up opening the 205 E. Burlington St., location, too.”
There also are plans to open a third MEC in Coralville. Boyum said there are eight MECs in Iowa cities, including Ames, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Fairfield and Vedic City.
Meanwhile, Boyum said there are still plans to build a $3 million, two-story Peace Palace in the Iowa City area. Although a site has not been confirmed, Boyum said a couple locations, including one in Coralville, are being considered.
Final architectural renderings of the Peace Palace are done, but Boyum said he hasn’t received them yet.
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Proponents say the effects of a relaxing day spa and palace include reduced crime, a healthier society and peace that could eventually spread worldwide.
Boyum said business is doing well at the Burlington Street location and a recent open house there drew about 50 people.
MEC director Anthony Antimuro is one of four employees at the Iowa City MEC. Antimuro was the director of the MEC in Ames before recently moving to Iowa City. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 1971 with math and computer science degrees.
Antimuro said the Peace Palace would be built according to Vedic architecture, which incorporates building orientation and proportion to other buildings into the design. Eventually, Antimuro said the hope to include a Maharishi Peace University, a greenhouse and field operations to grow organic foods.
Antimuro said he hopes to start scouting for land once the Old Capitol MEC is up and running.
“We would like to have anywhere from four to 100 or more acres,” Antimuro said. “We’re just looking for nice land that’s going to be at a good price, and it’s got to be oriented properly because orientation is a big aspect of Vedic architecture.”
A non-profit organization called Global Country of World Peace is spearheading the efforts to put up roughly 300 enlightenment centers and about 3,000 Peace Palaces worldwide.