The Kit Kat Klub, a strip club on the outskirts of Meridian, is being demolished this week to clear the way for a road widening project.
Neighboring residents have worked over the years to get the club shut down.
“(The club) put their signs on the road advertising for the girls,” said Birdie Whiting, who lived across the street. “And some of the families even commented to me, they’d drive by and tell the kids not to look.”
Barry Tassler, an owner of the club, could not be reached for comment Monday.
Whiting didn’t know that what would ultimately close down the club was the very thing that would destroy her beloved home of 34 years. Whiting’s 1930s farm house also stood in the way of the road widening project.
After settling with the Ada County Highway District — which purchased her house and part of her nine-acre property — Whiting moved into a new house across town. ACHD treated her fairly, Whiting said, and the new home is big and beautiful.
“But it’s not my cozy, cozy home that had everything at my fingertips,” she said.
One can hear the longing in the 82-year-old’s voice as she describes her old home — the stairs leading up to the library and the craft room where she painted, the sun room lined with windows, the canning kitchen in the basement.
“It was absolutely just the perfect home,” she said.
Whiting said the Kit Kat Klub opened in the mid-1980s, just a few years after she and her late husband, Roy, bought their house. Before that, the location was “a bar that sold the best hamburgers in whole Valley, according to the farmers around us,” she said.
The Idaho Secretary of State’s records for the Kit Kat Klub only go back to 2004. The Meridian Press has submitted a public records request to Ada County for more information about when the Kit Kat Klub opened and what was located there beforehand. County assessor’s office records show that a house was built on the property in 1925, with commercial improvements made in 1957, according to county spokeswoman Kate McGwire.
Whiting’s and the Kit Kat Klub’s properties were in the way of the widening of the Franklin Road and Black Cat Road intersection. Construction, set to take place over the next year, includes widening Franklin to five lanes from Black Cat to Ten Mile roads, ACHD spokesman Craig Quintana said.
ACHD went to court to gain possession of the Kit Kat Klub property through eminent domain, he said, which allows the government to buy private land needed for public use.
The court granted ACHD possession of the property last summer, but the district agreed to let club continue operating at least through February, Quintana said. The club apparently shut down a couple of weeks ago, he said.
ACHD and club owners are negotiating the reimbursement amount. ACHD offered $536,000 last year for the value of the property, but the final amount is likely to be higher than that because of other reimbursements such as the loss of business and relocation expenses, Quintana said.
“They’re not completely willing sellers, but at the same time they realize the necessity of the project, so that’s why we’re negotiating the condemnation,” he said.
Demolition of the Kit Kat Klub started Tuesday morning.
As for Whiting’s property, the family has deconstructed the house and is saving the materials for future use. They likely won’t rebuild on the same property because of the busy streets, Whiting said.
“Someday either (my son-in-law) or I or the family will probably reconstruct — it won’t ever be the same home, but we’ll probably reconstruct somewhere,” she said.