An open letter to Christopher Bates, Chairman of Pride Center Board.

Hello Christopher,

It was nice talking to you last Friday and as you requested I am putting my concerns in writing after checking various resources.

I am the coordinator for the Card Group at the Pride Center. Many years ago, Ted Verdone negotiated, with a pride executive, the following rates for the card group.  On Tuesdays, because of coffee and conversation, we did not have to pay a fee for playing cards either downstairs or upstairs. On Sundays, we paid $2 per person for using the room upstairs.

FYI: Samantha and I were in the process of increasing the rates. It has been many years at $2 and an increase is warranted. I was going to suggest a rate of $2 or $3 per person for members and $3 or $4 per person for non-members on both days. Please remember, we are just a group of guys wanting to play cards in a safe and welcoming atmosphere. The current new rate of $30 per hour should not apply to us since we are not an organization and are not sponsored by any organization. The new rate is out of our league. I’m afraid if we are not given a reasonable rate, current members will not renew their membership when their membership expires.

I wanted to share some fees charged by similar organizations.  At the Skolnick Center in Palm Aire members are charged $10 if they live in Palm Aire and $20 if they live outside Palm Aire. This is an annual membership that allows you to use the card room for free six days a week. The Emma Lou Olson Civic Center in Pompano Beach charges $1 per person each time you use their card room.  The Coconut Creek Community Center charges $20 if you live in Coconut Creek and $30 if you live outside Coconut Creek. It covers a one-year membership.

Christopher, to me this is a serious matter. The Pride Center is a place where LGBT men and women should be able to gather in a safe environment. The hourly rate is not conducive for individuals looking for a comfortable place to gather.

Please, after discussion with the board, advise me of the outcome. A slight increase in a per person fee is warranted. The fee I mentioned above is my desired outcome. I will convince my players that this is a fair and reasonable rate. I will also do everything possible to ensure that all card players are active members of the Pride Center as this is one of my objectives.

Many thanks and best regards,

Gary Florman


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