The Pennsylvania Diversity Network announced plans to redevelop a blighted property at 1021 W. Turner Street in Allentown into the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center. The center will provide programs and services for the LGBT community, and will be one of only six in the state, and the first in the Lehigh Valley. Allentown has a long history of welcoming gay and lesbian residents into its borders and supporting the LGBT Community.
Mayor Ed Pawlowski and project organizers announced they are working with the Allentown Redevelopment Authority to acquire the dilapidated 7,000 square foot building for $1.00.
Pawlowski said, “Allentown is a diverse community. Any 21st century city that is active, growing and vibrant is going to be diverse. We celebrate that diversity today with the announcement of the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center. We’re pleased to be able to assist in the effort to bring services to the people of the community.”
While there are already agencies in the area providing services to segments of the LGBT population, the Community Center will be a catalyst to bring these services to one convenient location.
Adrian Shanker, a leading LGBT activist for the community center and former President of Equality PA, hopes to launch a fundraising campaign to collect the $75,000 needed to show community interest, and says that the group is also pursuing support from foundations and corporate sponsors. Shanker said that organizers are eager to be a part of the Allentown Renaissance, bolstered by the new PPL Center hockey arena and the NIZ tax zone.
Allentown City Councilman Pete Schweyer, who was instrumental in aiding discussions of the project, said, “Any time we have an opportunity to take a blighted property and merge it with a successful nonprofit to turn it into a community project that will benefit the community at large, I think it’s a benefit for everybody.”