Wisconsin church, strip club work to create community space
MARSHFIELD, Wis. — A Wisconsin strip club will be torn down and the property cleared for community use following an unlikely alliance between the strip club and a church.
North Ridge Church in Marshfield is closing a deal on the land where the Rear End tavern and strip club was located, the Marshfield News Herald reported .
A church program started in 2012 called Sweet Treats helped connect the two groups. Women from the church visited the strip club with homemade desserts and to start conversation.
“We would just go in and be friends to these ladies. Talk about our families, expecting nothing in return,” said Cari Hafermann, a church member and Sweet Treats program co-leader. “It’s important they know people care.”
Former club owner J.D. Koran said he supported the program.
“It became a very popular thing with the dancers. Something so simple meant so much,” Koran said. “They had no agenda, they weren’t trying to change things. They were just there for them.”
Koran said it was a natural move to sell the land to the church when it came time for the club to close in April.
“Working together has been a cool relationship,” Koran said. “Maybe it’s weird that we can hit it off, but there’s no attitudes either way. We all wanted to see something good for the land.”
The church doesn’t have specific plans for the space yet, said Preston Tippen, the lead pastor. The church my relocate to the location or create a neighborhood space, such as a park with pavilions.
“I’m all for bringing something to the south side of Marshfield,” Koran said. “It’s very underused and underappreciated.”