Center on Halsted officially opens doors with ribbon cutting ceremony

Chicago, IL - Chicago's vision for a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community center became reality as the Center on Halsted officially opened its doors to the community during a ribbon cutting ceremony this morning. Board members, administrators and staff celebrated the completion of an eight-year effort to build the nation's most comprehensive center for the LGBT community.

Once an old parking garage, the new, $40 million, state-of-the-art, eco-friendly building located at 3656 N. Halsted St. will house the community center providing mental health services, youth programs, community and cultural programming, a technology center and meeting and office space for other LGBT non-profits.

"Chicago prides itself on offering the best of everthing," said Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. "I am proud to be a part of the leadership that is giving this city a world-class community center that is good for business, good for the community and good for the environment."

The 65,000-square-foot community center includes a rooftop garden, the 9,000-square-foot Billie Jean King Recreation Hall with a basketball court and volleyball courts, a 161-seat black-box theater/performance space, a communal kitchen, and a Whole Foods Market opening in July.

The eight-year fundraising effort numbering over 2,000 donors has broken all fundraising records for a LGBT center to date. Starting with a major gift from the North Halsted Merchants' Association, the campaign then received record-breaking grants from the federal government, the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago.

"Center on Halsted is setting new standards for both social and environmental responsibility. As that nation's most comprehensive LGBT community center, we provide relevant community programming, cultural events and activities – including mental health services and other support across the lifespan – that informs and enhances our community. While our green building contributes to a healthier environment – both physically and emotionally – for our community and neighbors, it also reminds us of our endless possibilities to make a difference," remarked Modesto Tico Valle, the Center's executive director designate.

The Center on Halsted celebrates with an opening gala this Friday and a month of special events throughout June.

For more information on the Center on Halsted, visit

View Photos from the ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday (6/5/2007) by Frank Failing.