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CV Pride opening first-ever community center

For the first time, Chattahoochee Valley Pride will have a place to call home.

The group, a nonprofit that organizes an annual LGBT Pride event, will celebrate its first community center with a grand opening Saturday at 1132 13th St. The space is 2,300 square feet and includes meeting rooms, offices and a kitchenette.

The community center is the product of a fairly short turnaround. Melvin Moore, public relations director for Chattahoochee Valley Pride, said the group had been talking about ways to expand since December.

“And we thought, well, the one thing the LGBT community doesn’t have is a place to go,” he said.

In March, board members began a fundraiser, but they soon found out that they didn’t need to host car washes or other hands-on activities. Moore said Chattahoochee Valley Pride raised about $10,000 to renovate the community center, mostly from private donors.

He said that there are a lot of people who want to help, but just don’t know how.

But Moore said he loves to talk, so “it kind of all worked together.”

The renovations, including painting and carpeting, were done by the board with help from area churches.

Moore said the center should fill a void in the community that not only will it embrace the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Columbus, “but the entire Chattahoochee Valley.”

He said that anyone will be able to use the center’s meeting rooms and other resources; and that he’s already been reaching out to other community-based organizations in the area.

The annual Pride event, which this year is set for Sept. 13, will still be held at Flat Rock Park.

An HIV/Aids support group will begin meeting at the center on Wednesday, and Moore said Chattahoochee Valley Pride is further developing and expanding its anti-bullying campaign. More programming and resources will be announced later.

And there are plans beyond the Chattahoochee Valley.

While the group had been based out of various board members’ homes, an office with an address makes it that much easier to partner with larger organizations and programs.

The community center will be run by a volunteer director. Chattahoochee Valley Pride is working on long-term funding for the center, but both additional volunteers and donations are still needed.

Moore said the center is stocking up on computer equipment and encourages community members to consider donating old monitors, CPUs and other equipment.

The center will be open Wednesday through Friday from 5 p.m. to dark (at or after 9 p.m.) and the hours on Saturday will be announced at a later date.

For more info on CHESS, the HIV/AIDS support group, contact Andrew Dennis at andrew@cvpride.org.

For more info on Chattahoochee Valley Pride, go to www.cvpride.org.

IF YOU GO

What: CV Pride Community Center grand opening

When: noon-4 p.m. Saturday, with refreshments and door prizes

Where: 1132 13th St.

More info: www.cvpride.org

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