Brooklyn’s wandering gays are one step closer to realizing a long-held dream of opening a permanent community center in the borough, thanks to a new pot of cash at the end of their rainbow.
Borough President Markowitz announced yesterday that he and Council Speaker Christine Quinn had allocated $2 million in discretionary funding towards the purchase of a still-unidentified building that would soon become the Brooklyn Community Pride Center.
It’s the latest effort by Markowitz to secure a home for Brooklyn’s gay community — the largest in the five boroughs. Two years ago, Markowitz helped negotiate a deal that would’ve put the community center in a Bruce Ratner-owned building Downtown, but the deal unraveled over the gay community’s opposition to Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project.
Markowitz strongly supports Atlantic Yards, but is also the elected official in the borough most staunchly in support of gay marriage. As a result, the Beep kept pushing for a gay community center, a central location for lesbians, gays and transgender residents to receive medical and social services, counseling, and help with name change paperwork — all services that are provided in Manhattan’s better-known gay community center.
“Brooklyn is 70 square miles, there is no reason the LBGT community should have to go to Manhattan like a second-class citizen to get help and support,” said Tom Smith president of Brooklyn Community Pride Center.
Smith has not found a building, or a neighborhood, but the $2 million will go a long way towards securing a brownstone or other appropriate community center.
“We’ve looked at both city-owned and private property, and [the move-in date] depends upon the site we decide upon,” said Smith, whose group has been holding its meetings in that ultimate fixer-upper, Borough Hall.
“I wish we could take this over,” Smith said, pointing towards the building’s monstrous pillars. “It’s perfect and grand, but they just won’t let us.”
©2009 Community News Group
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