We were busy this last Tuesday, November 15…lots of stuff going on that for once did not include drag queens/muscle bears/twinks and a pitcher of margaritas. (See? Gay people aren’t shallow!) And, we narrowly escaped being caught up in the “Occupy Seattle” protest/pepper spraying of octogenarian activists going on downtown as we traveled from one event to the next…
First up, was the reception for this year’s winner of the first ever, “Dr. Bob Wood Award for Excellence in HIV Prevention”, our friend Tony Radovich, for his advocacy work over the years fighting HIV/AIDS. A slew of important people in the field, including Dr. Joanne Steckler, and Gay City Executive Director Fred Swanson crowded the Bill Ford Conference Room at 400 Yesler to honor Tony while eating snacks and drinking punch. It was a great way to honor someone who has done so much for the community.
We then dashed to Gay City offices on Pike Street for their presentation on upcoming changes and expansion for the beloved community center and health project. In case you haven’t heard, Gay City is expanding over into the larger half of their building at 511 Pike which formerly housed the Home Front furniture store. Construction begins soon for phase one which will include a new space for Kaladi Brothers coffee; a larger storefront space for the Gay City Library; and a new and larger space for the Wellness Clinic. Phase Two, to be completed by June 2012, will include a space dedicated for performances and community activities. Meanwhile, plans are underway to find community tenants for the vacated half of the building with Executive Director Fred Swanson confirming they are having discussions with the “We Need Queer Youth Space” organizers about the possibility of their participation in the project.
Mr. Swanson also confirmed that much of the funding is in place for the expansion, but there will naturally be a need for further funds as well. A fundraising campaign will be designed in the next few weeks where groups and individuals can buy a “brick” of the new space and Swanson also mentioned the possibility of selling “naming rights” to specific parts of the new center such as the library and performance space.
When asked if Gay City was turning into Seattle’s LGBT Center, Fred only grins and makes his standard reply, “We prefer to avoid using that specific term…it hasn’t worked out so well for the other centers that came before us…” but acknowledges Gay City has picked up the mantle from the demise of the last LGBT Center, (specifically the Resource/Referral Line and Library) to become a strong community leader.
We’ll keep you posted as more information is released about this project.