Former strip club becomes community center

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May 16th, 2011

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Omaha, NE – A former strip club in Omaha’s Park Avenue neighborhood will soon become the home of the first community center in the area. And, inCOMMON, the community group organizing the project, hopes the renovation makes a positive impact that reaches throughout the community.

inCOMMON is transforming a former strip club into a community center (Photo by Angel Martin)

On Leavenworth St., off the corner of 29th St., there’s an old building with the word “closed” resting on the left and right side of its dilapidated marquee. This building used to be Sheri’s Show Club, but, last year Kohl’s Pharmacy purchased the space, and now they’re letting inCOMMON, a non-profit group, transform it into the Park Avenue Community Center.

Calvin Smothers, the director of the Center, said there’s a lot of work that needs to be done.

“Sheri’s Show Club was kind of left in a disarray,” he said. [It was a] “really dark place on the inside… so, we hope to make a place that’s currently pretty dark, and pretty dirty, become real vibrant, real bright.”

“A place where the community can come and feel at home,” he added.

Sheri's Show Club before Kohl's Pharmacy purchased the building (Photo credit inCOMMON)

Currently, Smothers said his group serves about 200 meals each week, using their current facilities, to people in the community who are living in poverty. In the Center, he said the group plans to expand their operations, and help people live successful and sustainable lives by offering English-learning and employment programs.

“It’s going to be a community collaboration,” he said. “A place for different neighborhood associations and different non-profits… We hope it can be a place not just for a few folks, a minority, or just a certain group, but we hope to be a place for everyone in the neighborhood.”

A change for the community and the old marquee is coming soon. Smothers said he hopes to have the center open in about two months.

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