Skip to comments.NEPA's first LGBT center opens its doors
Posted on 02/24/2014 12:16:24 PM PST by Phillyred
Andrew Krech / The Citizens' Voice About 150 people attended Sunday's grand opening of the LGBT Center of NEPA in the Fox Ridge Plaza in Plains Township.
PLAINS TWP. - Touted by agency officials as a "milestone" in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the LGBT Center of NEPA on Sunday made its grand debut.
More than 100 onlookers gathered for a special ribbon-cutting ceremony at the center, which was nice and all - but now, the work starts.
"Today, we celebrate the opening of the center but tomorrow, we get back to building that â¦ vision that everyone up here shares," NEPA Rainbow Alliance executive director John Dawe told the crowd.
The vision, according to NEPA Rainbow Alliance co-chairman Carl Halkyer, is the center becoming a significant meeting spot for the LGBT community.
"It's like your grandmother's house that everybody comes to, it keeps everyone together," Halkyer said. "It's about having a central place that we can build and grow."
In his address to the crowd, Dawe asked attendees to try volunteering their time to the center, which is what Robert Brodbeck, of Wilkes-Barre, said he plans to do.
Brodbeck, 89, grew up in the area, but moved away in 1952. When Brodbeck returned to Wilkes-Barre in 2006, many things had changed - including the attitude toward gay and lesbian residents.
"We've come a long way," Brodbeck said. "I hope this center really takes off because I think this is going to be really nice. It looks fabulous."
In the past week, the center has transformed from an empty space to a comfy, one-story area complete with freshly painted white walls, furniture, fluorescent lighting and art donated by local artists. When walking into the center, the first thing that may catch your eye is a photo collage-style poster that reads "The Center that COMMUNITY Built."
Halkyer said the feedback he received from Sunday's attendees - about the appearance of the center and the group's cause - was all positive.
"They love it. They think it's beautiful," Halkyer said. "They think it's going to be a great place for people to come together to form a cohesive community."
With Sunday's temperatures peaking near 50 degrees, nice weather kept the people walking in, to a tune of an estimated 100 to 150 attendees.
Halkyer and NEPA Rainbow Alliance board secretary Kelly Novakowski shared their shock-and-awe at how successful the grand opening turned out to be.
"I'll be honest, my crazy, type-A personality was thinking, 'Nobody's going to come. What are we going to do?'" Novakowski said. "But I never expected this many people to be here right at the beginning."
Novakowski said the large turnout represents the community wanting, needing and being ready for the center.
With the opening of the LGBT Center of NEPA, The Fox Ridge Plaza - which also houses Twist Bar, the largest gay bar in Luzerne County - is home to the first center of its kind in Luzerne, Lackawanna or Wyoming counties.
Novakowski said many gay residents of Luzerne County leave for larger cities with more resources and larger gay communities, but he is hoping the center will start to change that.
Brodbeck shares that hope, pointing to people in the crowd and saying: "Look at the people here, they are quality people. You're going to attract great people that will be fighting to be in here."
What is NEPA?.................
Huuuhhhh, and that is what I thought gay bars were for...who knew.
Who is paying for this? Is taxpayer money involved?
I don’t think that one guy is LGB & T
It’s where all that NEPAtism goes on...
North East Pensylvania.
Who made for this and what could it possibly do?
If there is money to be given out, I’m gay and so is my wife.
Seriously, I’m going to take a wild guess that it is an unnecessary acronym for NorthEastern PennsylvaniA.
Who PAID for this
I had to LOL, as the guy was quoted as saying the center looked fabulous. The use of the word fabulous by the gay community is somewhat of a running joke with lots of people here on Free Republic...............
Where "LGBT" people can get together to engage in "LGBT activities"?
I hope the building's interior is designed to be cleaned by being hosed down...
Seems like it would be a convenient pick-up spot. Let’ the young mingle with the old, just the way NAMBLA likes it.
Yeah, my grandmother's house looked a LOT like this:
Sounds like an AIDS spawning pit
I am still trying to figure out how this idiot can be a lesbian, a gay, bi-sexual as well as a Tranny?
What a dumb title.
Yes - Its located in the men's room of the Flying J rest-stop, just off exit 31 on Highway 476....
You know, there's a reason why stereotypes exist.
Never-Ending Parasite A$$holes?...................
Well, no, actually, she did not...
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