Prizm News / December 14, 2017 / By Bob Vitale


LGBT Center Executive Director Phyllis Harris speaks at the groundbreaking for the center’s new location on Detroit Avenue in Cleveland. Above: A rendering of the new center, to be completed by the end of 2018. (Photos courtesy of the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland)

‘This is amazing and a dream come true,’ director says of the facility that will triple space and expand center programming.


By Bob Vitale

When the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland opens its brand new home 10 to 12 months from now, the stairs will go up.

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Officials and supporters of the 42-year-old center—the third oldest in the nation—broke ground yesterday for a new facility that will offer nearly triple the space for expanded programming.

It will be across the street from the LGBT center’s current home, which is located down a flight of stairs in a basement location on Detroit Avenue.

“This is amazing and a dream come true,” Executive Director Phyllis Harris said before she and other center leaders used gold-painted shovels to symbolically turn the first dirt at the construction site. A center banner hung on a backhoe that will do the real work.

Plans for a new center were announced in August 2014, on the eve of opening ceremonies for the international Gay Games that were hosted in Cleveland and Akron. An anonymous donor pledged $1.8 million toward the project, and Cleveland’s Milton and Tamar Maltz Family Foundation announced it would match up to $500,000 in donations for upkeep of a new center.

LGBT Center board member Bryan Bowser announced yesterday that the center will get the full match from the Maltz family foundation because community donations have topped $500,000.

“The center has functioned all these years on small budgets,” he said. “All these dreams … are coming true.”

In contrast to the current center’s basement location and nondescript entrance on Detroit Avenue in the Cleveland’s Gordon Square Arts District, the new location will be two stories above ground and offer meeting rooms, event space for rent, a rooftop patio, cyber center and more.

Bob Vitale
A Toledo native and graduate of Toledo Public Schools, Bob has worked as a local government and politics reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, as a Washington correspondent for Thomson Newspapers and as editor-in-chief for Outlook Ohio. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Ball State University and a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.