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Sex-Positive Community Center Set To Open This Summer At Historic Music Hall

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A new community center hoping to open in Northeast Philadelphia is causing some concern.

It's being called a sex-positive venue, and that has some neighbors questioning what could happen there.

It is set to open this summer at the historic Tacony Music Hall. The organizer, Deborah Rose Hinchey, said it will be a private membership-based club where sexual activity will not be banned.

Zoning notices posted show an application filed for a private club for more than 50 people – an organization calling itself The Philly Music Hall.

"The Philly Music Hall, at its core, is a community center for people who feel marginalized for their sexual identities," Hinchey, the programming director and founder, said.

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Hinchey said this will be a sex-positive community center, where the city's marginalized sexual communities can gather at a central space for movie or game nights.

"Our community plans to serve a broad spectrum of communities," she explained. "People who range on the LGBTQ spectrum, to people who engage in non-traditional relationship models."

However, there are two questions concerned neighbors have about the proposed center: is it going to be a sex club and will sexual activity be taking place?

"No. A sex club is going to be a space where the sole and primary function is to facilitate sex between its patrons," said Hinchey. "We don't prohibit sexual activity between our members, but this is not a sex club."

On the first floor of the historic hall sits the bustling Children's Place Preschool.

Director Monique Roye said she welcomes an LGBTQ space.

"I think it's a good opportunity to expose the community to a different type of environment," she said.

But Roye is concerned over the sexual aspect of it.

"I really don't think that would be appropriate to have in that kind of environment, just because of the fact we do have children in the area," Roye said.

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Some neighbors also worried about the plans. A public meeting to discuss the plans is set for March 27 at 7 p.m.

Councilman Bobby Henon, who represents the district, will attend.

"I look forward to the presentation proposal that is going to be given to the community at the end of the month. Until then, I hope everybody just keeps their powder dry and let's see what are the issues and if there are any ways to resolve the concerns nervousness or skepticism," Henon said.

Hinchey said alcohol will not be served at the hall.

The zoning hearing at City Hall will be held on April 5.

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