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Church works to find new purpose for ex-strip club in Marshfield

North Ridge Church members work on July 28 to clear out and organize debris left over following the partial demolition of the former Rear End bar and strip club in Marshfield. (Megan Stringer//The Post-Crescent via AP)

North Ridge Church members work on July 28 to clear out and organize debris left over following the partial demolition of the former Rear End bar and strip club in Marshfield. (Megan Stringer//The Post-Crescent via AP)

MARSHFIELD, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin strip club will be torn down and the property cleared for other uses as a result of an unlikely alliance between the club and a church.

North Ridge Church in Marshfield is closing on a deal for the site where the Rear End tavern and strip club had once stood, the Marshfield News Herald reported.

A church initiative, which was started in 2012 and is called Sweet Treats, helped broker the deal with the club owners. Hoping to start talks about possible other uses of the site, women from the church approached the club owners with homemade desserts.

“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.”

J.D. Koran, a former owner of the club, said he supports the Sweet Treats initiative.

“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 only natural that the land would be sold to the church when the club was closed 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 could move there or allow the land to be used as a park or something similar.

“I’m all for bringing something to the south side of Marshfield,” Koran said. “It’s very underused and underappreciated.”

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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