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Growing Pains

In 1991-92, Wingspan searched for new ways to connect with the lesbian and gay community, and a team of concerned community members moved the Center from its Presidio sublet to a slightly more economical and significantly more visible storefront on Tucson’s busy North Fourth Avenue. The rent was almost identical to its previous home, but the space was entirely raw, and over $2,500 in renovations were needed just to make the space livable. All of this came at a time when Wingspan’s bank balance teetered  between $2,000 and $700.

During the years 1992 to 1995, defining the Community Center’s role in Tucson gay and lesbian life became a significant priority. New groups now met at the Center; new dances, art exhibits and social events were held; an annual Film Festival was inaugurated; and political action blended (sometimes uneasily) with the day-to-day activities of the Center. Volunteers came and went as each person tried to find their own best "fit" within the Center.

The Wingspan Board, through a series of annual planning meetings, began the task of establishing long-term goals for the organization, goals that were respectful and inclusive of the many diverse members of Tucson’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. The Center became more directed toward service to the community, expanding its hours, expanding the library substantially, and integrating its activities with numerous other community organizations, both LGBT and non-LGBT.

Maturing and a New Space

By early 1996, with more groups using the Center, it was clear that Wingspan would soon outgrow its Fourth Avenue space. In the spring of 1997, the Board made a series of bold decisions aimed to help the Center expand and improve the services that it provided to Southern Arizona’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The Board signed a lease for our current office and meeting space at 300 East 6th Street, just around the corner from the Center’s old location on Fourth Avenue.

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