An effort is currently underway in Phoenix to secure funding for the city’s first official Latino Cultural Center.
Late last month members of the Phoenix City Council voted to approve a final report put out by the Latino Cultural Center Ad Hoc Committee looking at the importance of the proposed center and its mission.
That report noted that Phoenix has historically had a large “Mexican, Indigenous, and Central and South American presence in the region,” with at least half of the city’s population made up of Latino residents.
The idea for building such a facility has been in the planning stage for well over a decade with vigorous discussions focusing on, among other things, where exactly the center will be located.
For its part, the ad hoc committee specifically recommended that the estimated $15 million project should be carved out of an existing brick structure at 1202 North Third Street, next to the downtown Margaret T. Hance Park.
That 24,000 square foot building was erected in 1955 and was formerly the home of the First Southern Baptist Church.
At least another 18,000 square feet, according to the committee’s proposal, will be laid out at the site for outdoor programing space.
In the months ahead, a new group called Friends of the Latino Cultural Center is expected to raise funds to get the building project underway, with the City of Phoenix also soon issuing a Request for Proposals for an expert to create a fundraising plan.
As envisioned, the center will house exhibits, live performances, workshops, and artistic events.
By Garry Boulard
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