Amidst serious opposition from some of the neighbors, the Oshkosh Common Council on Tuesday will consider the possibility of turning an old church into a place for 12-step recovery meetings.
Kornerstone Recovery Inc. wants to move from its current location on Oregon Street and set up an all-day 12-step recovery center on the corner of Evans Street and E. Parkway Avenue in an old church.
The building is surrounded by a residential neighborhood and would need to be classified as a community center in order for the recovery group to hold meetings there.
The Oshkosh Plan Commission did not approve a conditional use permit for the center during its meeting last week, mostly because of concerns from the neighbors. However, the commission is only authorized to recommend action, and the issue will still go in front of the council for a vote.
Ken Reuhl, president of Kornerstone Recovery, said the facility would be open between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m., and about 80 percent of the 12-step meetings would be closed to non-addicts.
He said he was frustrated that the plan commission did not recommend approving a conditional use permit.
"We are a property of hope and healing, which that property there has stood for, for many years," he said. "Hope for that area of the community."
The 12-step meetings would be limited to Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Alateen and Al-Anon, all of which the group does at its current location on Oregon Street, Reuhl said.
Evans Street resident Victor Mitchell lives a couple of houses away from the property where the new facility would be located. He said he is against having it there.
"It should stay in more of a business oriented neighborhood," he said. "I mean, for goodness sakes we need them, but there should be more of a buffer."
Reuhl said concerns about dangerous people in the area are unfounded.
"There's professional people, attorneys, doctors, successful business people that are in recovery," he said.
Sharron Taylor, who lives on the 900 Block of East Parkway Avenue, said she's not against 12-step programs, but having an all-day facility down the street from her house could pose practical problems.
"I'm not opposed to people getting help and going to meetings and that kind of stuff because I think just because they've had problems in the past doesn't mean that they're always going to be bad necessarily," she said. "But if they're going to be standing around and parking in front of my house all day, then yes, I have a problem with that."
source: Oshkosk Northwestern
Crystal Lindell: (920) 426-6668 or firstname.lastname@example.org.