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St. Pete's Metro Wellness must move to new space

Posted: 6:32 PM, Sep 18, 2015
Updated: 2015-09-18 18:32:38-04

"So we talk a lot about world events and politics,” said Tony Branch.

Friday mornings at 2227 Central Avenue in St. Pete are for talking, coffee drinking and laughing.

"I think it's really important for people when they get older to have outlets in terms of meeting with other people and so forth,” said Branch.

Branch meets with a 55 and older discussion group for gay men-- one of the many resources the Metro Wellness Center offers for the LGBT community.

"People come to this group from as far north as Dunedin and I think one or two people come over from the Bradenton Palmetto area,” he explained.

He's one of many who've learned the parent property located on 3rd Avenue North is in flux.

"We are concerned obviously about where it's going to go,” he said.

Metro's CEO Lorraine Langloix tells me they're searching for a new 30-thousand square foot space and have anywhere from 6 to 12 months to move. For many, Metro is a lifeline offering primary care, counseling, HIV care and social gathering. 

 Ed Blacker says he's there at least two nights a week.   

"Personally, right now, it's great for me because it's about five minutes from my house,” he said.

Metro's CEO says they'd like to stay in the Historic Kenwood neighborhood and have some prospects but nothing solid right now.

"I have no idea where they're considering or what's available. I mean the parking is always going to a problem in any place in St. Pete,” said Blacker.

What won't be a problem at a new location, groups like this one, who appreciate the inviting forum.