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Gay community center in the works amid closing of another

Bronx Times

Nothing will give Peter Frank more pride than reviving a community center for gays in the Bronx.

After the Bronx Community Pride Center closed in Mott Haven amid a cloud of money troubles, Frank formed an ad hoc committee to open a brand new center to service the estimated 42,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender folks in the borough.

“We just don’t want the LGBT community to feel they’ve been abandoned,” said Frank, a community organizer.

The first order of business is for members to find funds needed to start the nonprofit.

It’s already begun its fundraising efforts with several events including the Bronx Pride 2012 festival, held Saturday, July 21 in Crotona Park. Several hundred turned out for the event.

Problems for the now-defunct center began in June when former executive director Lisa Winters was criminally charged with siphoning $300,000 from the center between 2005 and 2009.

Investigators said Winters blew the money on trips and taking care of her debts.

The gay community depended on many of the community’s services, including art programs that build self-esteem. Frank said that while the center focused solely on young people and transgenders, he now hopes to expand its services, with outreach clinics for HIV/AIDS treatment, legal advice, and suicide prevention.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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