Prizm News / June 14, 2019 / By Ken Schneck
The LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland cuts the ribbon on their historic new building
By Ken Schneck
Hundreds gathered on Friday for a celebration that has been decades in the making. As community leaders cut the rainbow ribbon at 6705 Detroit Avenue in Cleveland’s Detroit Shoreway neighborhood, the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland officially moved out of its former basement home and welcomed the community into a stunning space where all are welcome, supported, and celebrated. Signifying the first time the Center has owned their own property in their 44-year history (and with zero debt from the construction!), the new two-story, 15,500 square foot building includes meeting spaces, cyber center, public parking, outdoor terrace, a Pride Clinic with on-site medical care including HIV testing and counseling, and pops of color everywhere you turn. Prizm was on the scene for the ribbon cutting and spoke with members of the community who were on hand to witness this giant leap forward in LGBTQ history, visibility, and community.
Phyllis “Seven” Harris, Executive Director, LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland
This building means that for people who are questioning, for people who are feeling rejected, for people who are happy to celebrate who they are: this is a space where they can all be. They will no longer be in isolation and we can work together to build community, now and in the future.
Amanda Cole, Executive Director, Plexus
I am so excited about the visibility this building brings. One thing that I love about the building design is the way it brings in light. I think that’s just the perfect metaphor for when we open ourselves up, let light come in, and build community. The transparency is so beautiful in the building and it’s really important in our community as well. This is all just gorgeous.
Jenny Spencer, Managing Director, Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization (DSCDO)
DSCDO and the LGBT Center have a close, long-term relationship. The LGBT Center had been a tenant in the DSCDO-owned Arcade building for over 19 years. We’re delighted that they’re moving out of that basement space and that they’ll now be front and center in a prominent location on Detroit Avenue. The new Center is a major $5 million investment. It’s a beautiful building that will bring people into the neighborhood, adding to the vibrancy of the surrounding community and supporting nearby shops and restaurants. There are many existing collaborations with the LGBT Center within the neighborhood and Arts District – for example, the Pride Film Series at the Capitol Theatre and Queer Prom at Near West Theatre. We look forward to seeing these collaborations grow and deepen. The LGBT Center is a sign that Detroit Shoreway is an open, welcoming and inclusive community, in line with our values as an organization.
Bryan Bowser, Former Board Chair, LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland
I’m excited for the Center to be up and out of the basement, bright and alive for everyone to see in this welcoming space. The beauty is that the future can hold whatever the community decides it wants from the Center because now we have a flexible space where the sky really is the limit to serve the community in whatever ways that they want.
Mary Beth Bartholomew, SAGE Program Activities Coordinator, LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland
This is a huge day for not only people who work at the Center and use the Center, but for the entire Cleveland community because everyone has taken a big part in making this dream a reality. For SAGE, this means they are going to have more space, they are going o have bright light, better accessibility with their own elevator. It’s going to be more accessible overall.
Thomas Stebel, Longtime Volunteer, LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland
I’m excited for the future of the LGBT community in all of Cleveland. Volunteering here means I have the chance to give back to the community that has supported me all my life.
Gwen Stembridge, Statewide Civic Engagement Director, Equality Ohio
The LGBT Center is such a gift to this community. Not only are we able to be visible, but we are able to engage with our community in a variety of different ways. Visibility is so important to activism and civic engagement, especially now.
Taylor Henschel, Board Member, LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland
We are so grateful to everyone who has come together to support our beautiful new home. This Center belongs to all of us. As we move forward into this larger space, we hope that the community will continue to amplify our visibility and help us meet the need for even greater programming and operations.