The local Grapevine Club of Alcoholics Anonymous is facing a 3000% increase in rent for its meeting and clubhouse space at 1518 W. Fort St.
For more than 60 years Boise City has leased the facility for $1 a year. As of May 1, the City is demanding a monthly rent of $300, waiving rent for two summer months ($3,000 a year). Taxpayers have owned the building since 1911 when horses pulled fire engines from the former firehouse. It ceased being a fire station in 1952.
Three years ago, the group pulled together $5,000 to assist the city with repairs and agreed to the $300 monthly fee beginning May 1, 2013. It looks like they will have a hard time finding rent money before the May 1 deadline, according to AA spokesman Steve Lewis.
The City has had a “special relationship” with AA which uses the former apparatus floor as a meeting room for recovering drug and alcohol users. Most of those in attendance are referrals from the courts–typically DUI offenders. The second floor is a lounge area with TV and internet access.
A leaking roof and other maintenance issues have put the city in the position of being a “slum lord” in the eyes of some. A GUARDIAN reader was critical of the city saying, “The taxpayers of Boise are subsidizing this private club in a city building.”
True enough, but from a social and political standpoint what are the city fathers and mothers to do? AA obviously offers enough of a benefit to the community to have judges mandate offenders join the program. The city also spends hundreds of thousands on a detox center in conjunction with Ada County. The Grapevine Club is not a detox treatment center, but serves as a meeting place and refuge for those suffering from alcohol and drug addiction.
On the other hand, is it a good investment to fix up a 102 year old building that has not been used for city services for more than 60 years?
Toss in the historic value of the former fire station which once protected the North End and the question of who should pay arises. Combine that with the proximity to North Junior High and it becomes an issue worthy of community discussion.
Ada Sheriff Gary Raney characterized AA as one of the tools available to treat alcoholics–although not a primary resource. He told the GUARDIAN the so-called “Detox Center” at Allumbaugh House has not worked out, is difficult for coppers to use and the County Jail has reverted to “drunk tank, holding cell” status for people needing to be removed from public areas, but not under arrest.
MATH NOTE: although the rent went up by a factor of 3,000, it’s about a 300,000% rise. (3,000 / 1) X 100.
think of its going from 1 to 10. It’s 10 times higher, but 1000%. A 100 % rise would be from 1 to 2.
To insure more advertising-free Boise Guardian news, please consider financial support.