Local LGBTQ group opens new home to publc

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COLUMBIA - The LGBTQ group The Center Project (TCP) held an open house Saturday for its new permanent facility. 

Tuesday, Columbia’s Board of Adjustment unanimously granted the group a conditional use permit for the property at 515 Hickman Avenue. This grants TCP access to use the home as an operating public space. 

The organization began looking for a permanent location in January. TCP has been renting since it first had a physical space in 2009. 

TCP board member Neil Carr said the community surrounding their new home has been supportive so far.

"We're hoping to go to the Neighborhood Association meeting when they have it next and get to meet a lot more of my neighbors and hopefully have them here today and over the next few months to get to know us as well," Carr said. 

The organization is mid-Missouri's only community center focused on the needs of LGBTQ people. It serves the youth, families and those living in rural communities.

TCP said in a statement, "Owning our own home will help free our volunteers to focus on people and programming, instead of exhausting all of our resources on meeting next month's rent," it continues, "being the owners of our space makes it more affordable, friendly and safer. This will help leverage TCP's inclusive nature to amplify the diverse gifts of Mid Missouri."