In the early 1980’s, conversations were held among members of the Charlotte Jewish community regarding the need for a common gathering place that could be the center of Jewish life for the community. There was a strong desire to create a viable community hub where children could get to know each other, share experiences and build relationships. There was also a need to provide a central location where the children could receive Jewish education, attend worship services, enjoy Jewish culture and have a place where they felt at home.
These discussions led to the creation of the Joint Venture Agreement, which was established at Shalom Park’s inception, and is a key element behind the success of the collaborative effort. It was critical that a workable operating framework be established that maintained individual institution autonomy and also provided oversight for the entire entity.
The structure that was established created the Foundation of Shalom Park. The
Foundation owns all the assets of the Park with the exception of the two Temple
properties, and functions as a non-programming partner, landlord, property manager and administrator for the Park.
In May of 1986, Shalom Park opened the first phase of approximately 85,000 square feet, which included the Levine JCC and the Blumenthal Jewish Education Building. In 1992, both synagogues, Temple Beth El (reform) and Temple Israel (conservative) came onto the property. Between the late 1990’s and 2009, a renovation and endowment project of over $43 million increased the space to 225,000 square feet, which included a new fitness center, a second gym, a renovated indoor pool, renovated offices, an expanded library, soccer fields, tennis facilities, aquatic facilities, a day camp, a parking deck, and the Sam Lerner Center for Cultural Arts.
Today, the 54 acre campus of Shalom Park provides a welcoming environment, not only for the local Jewish community, but for the entire Charlotte metro area as well, with an array of educational, religious, recreational, entertainment, cultural, and community service offerings. With no equivalent concept found anywhere in the nation, Shalom Park stands as a preeminent example of community-based organization cooperation.