Group to host 12-step meetings at old strip club
The 12 & 12 Drop In Center is not an Alcoholics Anonymous group but rents space for the meetings of AA and other 12-step programs, said Michael Shaw, 12 & 12 president.
Six to eight groups now meet at the old Knights of Columbus Hall, 407 W. Van Buren St., Janesville, which 12 & 12 has been renting, Shaw said.
Jim and Rebecca Halbach donated the one-story Delavan Drive building to 12 & 12 as part of Jim Halbach’s plea agreement to avoid prosecution on felony charges of running a brothel at Screamin’ MeeMees.
Shaw said 12 & 12 is grateful to Halbach for the donation. The club has been renting space in various Janesville buildings for 21 years, Shaw said.
“This is going to free up money to do some of the things we’re in the business of doing rather than paying rent,” he said.
Those activities include picnics, corn boils, volleyball games, a campout and the like for people in 12-step programs, Shaw said.
Between meetings, the 12 & 12 building will be open as a “safe place away from the drugs and alcohol we all suffer from,” he said.
The irony of what 12 & 12’s new home was isn’t lost on Shaw.
“It’s a complete 180 (degree turn) from something that’s a detriment to the city … to a positive for the city,” he said.
Shaw said 12 & 12 plans to install windows, finish off the kitchen and replace carpeting with tile.
“We’re all coffee drinkers, and coffee doesn’t go too well with a carpeted floor,” he said.
Halbach also donated the 12-stall parking lot on the property and told 12 & 12 that the group can use his much larger parking lot across South Jackson Street for meetings, Shaw said.
Shaw said 12 & 12 also is talking about parking with General Motors and other businesses in the area.
Shaw wanted to reassure neighbors that people attending meetings have been advised that plenty of off-street parking is available and they should not park on neighborhood streets.