LGBT Network headquarters moves
Artist’s rendering of the proposed senior LGBT housing project.

File photo

LGBT Network headquarters moves

Story By: ANTHONY PERROTTA
4/11/2019


BAY SHORE—The LGBT Network is moving, temporarily. 

The nonprofit organization, which has been based in Bay Shore since its founding in 1993, is putting the final touches a new community center in Hauppauge. The new 15,000-square-foot facility, located on Kennedy Drive, will be the largest suburban LGBT community center in the nation, according to reports. 

David Kilmnick, the organization’s president and chief executive officer, reportedly stated that people and events had to be turned away at the former Bay Shore location because it lacked the space needed. The new community center, which offers free HIV screenings, is four times the size as the old location. The Hauppauge facility also features a café and state-of-the-art meeting rooms. 

Kilmnick said the organization hopes to return to Bay Shore in about two years after the old location is converted into affordable housing for LGBT seniors. This publication reported on the project’s approval by the town’s zoning board in the article, “Senior LGBT housing approved,” published on Oct. 5, 2017. 

The housing project will consist of 75 units (71 one-bedroom and four two-bedroom) next to the organization’s former community center on the northwest corner of Park Avenue and Community Road, near the LIRR station. 

The change of zone also allows for a new 8,000-square-foot community center to be constructed adjacent to the complex in order to continue to provide its wide-ranging services to both residents and other seniors throughout the neighboring region. 

The LGBT Network was based in Bay Shore for over 25 years, with the first 10 on Main Street and the other 15-plus on Park Avenue. 

Around the time that the Bay Shore development was approved, Kilmnick told this publication that the facility would be “open to the entire community.” Kilmnick added that out of the thousands of people who visited the Bay Shore facility, 40 percent identified as non-gay. “So, we’ve always been an open and welcoming place to the entire town, where families and children and seniors have been able to utilize what we offer,” he added. 

Kilmnick has cited statistics that indicate a disproportionately greater number of older adults on Long Island, with both Nassau and Suffolk counties posting higher median ages than New York State and the country as a whole, according to a previous U.S. Census Bureau population estimate. In addition, the Long Island index has stated that the 55-plus population grows by more than 2 percent each year – more than six times the overall rate of population growth. 

Donna Periconi, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Bay Shore, and Mary Louise Cohen, president of the Bay Shore-Brightwaters Summit Council, also voiced their support for the housing development in its earlier stages.

The LGBT Network has a second Suffolk County location in Sag Harbor, along with a Queens County location in Long Island City. A Nassau County location is coming soon, according to the organization’s website.