LOWER EAST SIDE — The LGBT youth advocacy organization FIERCE is planning to create a mobile "pop-up center" to wheel along West Village sidewalks, the group said in an interview Wednesday.
Group organizer John Blasco said FIERCE will use a lightweight, easily movable kiosk as a tool to speak with the youth that the group serves and the broader community about plans for a permanent, 24-hour center.
"I hope that we can take [the pop-up center] through the community and show people what a [permanent] center could possibly look like," he said. "We're looking to get community input on services that should be incorporated in the center."
Volunteer architects and designers brainstormed ideas for the kiosk at an initial design meeting Tuesday night, with members of the design and community outreach organization the Hester Street Collaborative and the legal service group the Urban Justice Center, which are working with FIERCE on the project.
The kiosk should move on wheels and be able to be pulled by a bicycle. The structure should be easy for one or two people to move, and should fold up neatly for easy transport, the group said.
The volunteers, who met at the Hester Street Collaborative on the Lower East Side, also discussed including a "know your rights" card with information for FIERCE members operating the cart, in anticipation of incidents with police.
The kiosk may also include a three-dimensional model of a design for a permanent center, Blasco said.
Information on permits that FIERCE may need to wheel the cart on city sidewalks was not immediately available from the Department of Transportation.
FIERCE and its partners are scheduled to design and build the "pop-up center" on Oct. 25 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Oct. 29 and Nov. 5 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. They hope to complete the kiosk in time for a FIERCE "town hall" meeting on Nov. 12.
FIERCE is searching the West Village for potential spaces for Our S.P.O.T. now, Blasco said. The group is also surveying their members about what they want.
"We're in the planning process of creating a visioning meeting for LGBTQ youth about what they want to see in a center and what services they would want," he said.
How Our S.P.O.T. would be funded is not yet clear.
"We're looking at what funding would have to be identified to get a center," said Blasco, who noted that FIERCE was supported by foundations and individual donors and received no city funding.
West Village residents have previously expressed concerns that the creation of a 24-hour LGBT youth center would worsen crime, noise and disorder in the area.