April 3, 2013 at 5:40 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
D.C. Center lands $25,000 donation
D.C. Allen, Crew Club, gay news, Washington Blade

‘We decided it was important for the Center to be there for all of us in the community,’ said Crew Club owner D.C. Allen (Washington Blade file photo by Pete Exis)

The owners of the Crew Club, a D.C. health club and sauna that caters to gay men, presented the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community with a $25,000 donation on Tuesday at a reception to kick-off a fundraising drive to help finance the center’s move to a new home.

Center Vice President Michelle Ross, who heads the center’s relocation committee, said the donation by the Crew Club through it co-owners D.C. Allen and his husband, Ken Flick, provides a major boost in raising the estimated $75,000 needed to renovate the LGBT Center’s new space in the city’s Reeves Center municipal building at 14th and U streets, N.W.

Ross and D.C. Center President Michael Sessa have said the 15-year lease the Center just signed with the city to rent space in the highly desirable location at the Reeves Center required that they accept the space “as is” and pay for getting it ready for occupancy.

Although the renovation work needed is more extensive than originally anticipated, the two said community supporters like Allen and Flick and other donors along with supporters who are providing pro bono work related to the renovation should make it possible to complete the project by late June, Ross said.

“We decided it was important for the center to be there for all of us in the community,” Allen told the Blade.

Allen said he and Flick have been impressed with the center’s varied programs that help support a diverse cross section of the LGBT community, including programs for LGBT military veterans and LGBT immigrants and those seeking U.S. political asylum. Sports and career development programs as well as addiction and recovery related efforts, including the center’s longstanding crystal meth program, are among many other center activities, Allen said.

“We felt it was extremely important that this not drag on and that they start their renovation and get in there as soon as possible,” he said.

Ross is urging members of the community to visit the center’s website for details of the renovation plans, including floor plans and drawings prepared by an architect and interior designer who are helping with the project. The renovation plans can be viewed at www.thedccenter.org/home.

The need to find a new home for the center surfaced after center officials were told they would have to leave their current space at 1318 U St., N.W., because the building in which they are located will soon be taken down to make way for a new high-rise office building.

The renovation and design plans shown on the center’s website call for naming rooms after large donors and displaying permanent plaques on the walls of the new space bearing the names of contributors.

“Be a permanent part of the Center and purchase a piece of history,” the site says.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • Be aware. The Washington Blade banned me from their Facebook page because I was critical of two of their articles, so be careful not to criticize them. I'm sure I will soon be banned from commenting here as well. And then I will take my protest more public.

  • Thanks, D.C. and Ken, for supporting the DC Center's new space!

  • Sorry D.C. you are being bamboozled by the “Michael Sessa is important, just ask him” juggernaut. What exactly are these programs and who do they really benefit? Isn’t this “Center” actually a huge drain on the community mostly financing the humongous appetites of it’s leadership.

    Of course some of us remember the campaign you waged when you opened your “sauna”, co-opting “Taxi Cash” “AIDS Grift” Graham and even Act Up DC to further your argument that the Crew Club would be a “health facility”. Lord only knows what you are really up to this time but I have to hand it to you. You have managed to get all that Virginia money back into DC.

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