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Published: Sunday, 8/10/2003

Gay, lesbian resource center planned

BY RACHEL ZINN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A group of area residents is transforming an apartment in the Old West End into the Toledo Area Pride Center, a resource center for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.

The center is not scheduled to open to the public for several months, but local gay and lesbian groups can start scheduling meetings in its conference room. One group will meet there later this month, Dr. Tom Meinecke, president of the center, said.

Dr. Meinecke said the center is designed as a meeting place and information resource, not a headquarters for political action.

“We just want to celebrate who we are,” he said. “We are viable members of our community, and we do make a difference.”

A committee of 10 local residents started meeting about a year ago to raise money and plan the center. In May, the group began cleaning and furnishing the upstairs apartment at 450 West Delaware Ave.

Ed Hoffman, a lawyer and real estate agent who served on the center's planning committee, donated the apartment across from his offices.

“I believe in the organization, and they're just getting off the ground. I think they need a physical presence to get started,” he said.

The Toledo Area Pride Center has an office, conference room, kitchen, and foyer with bookshelves that its leaders hope to fill with newsletters and information about the dozens of gay and lesbian groups in the region.

Dr. Meinecke said a major goal for the center is to publish a calendar listing events put on by the groups.

The pride center's Web site, www.tapcenter.org, lists con- tact information for groups of interest to gay and lesbian resi- dents and has a calendar of some upcoming events. “As groups see what we're trying to do, we'll probably get that calendar really expanded,” Dr. Meinecke said.

The Web site also gives a phone number for the Toledo Area Pride Center.

Dr. Meinecke said he hopes to have volunteers eventually answer the phones during publicized office hours, but for now callers can leave messages and one of the center's organizers will call back.

The group setting up the center still needs to raise money for utility bills and other operating costs.



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