Carrie Rengers

Charles Koch-backed foundation to help open ‘sober active community’ center downtown

The Phoenix is bringing what it calls a “sober active community” center to this building at 145 N. Wabash near First and Washington.
The Phoenix is bringing what it calls a “sober active community” center to this building at 145 N. Wabash near First and Washington. The Wichita Eagle

A new “sober active community” center is going to open on the outskirts of Wichita’s biggest bar and entertainment district with help from the Stand Together Foundation, which Charles Koch and other business people and philanthropists lead.

The Phoenix has purchased the 9,400-square-foot building at 145 N. Wabash near First and Washington in Old Town.

“As The Phoenix continues to expand nationally, supporting individuals in recovery from substance use disorder with its free programs, we see tremendous potential in Wichita and the surrounding area to have a positive impact,” said a statement from Scott Strode, founder and executive director of the Denver-based Phoenix.

The Phoenix website says the only cost to join “is 48 hours of continuous sobriety.”

“From CrossFit and climbing, to hiking, running, cycling, yoga and more, we believe fostering human connections in mental, physical and spiritual fitness is a powerful way to rebuild wounded bodies and spirits and restore hope,” the site says.

In Strode’s statement, which came from a Stand Together spokeswoman via e-mail, he said, “Since our founding in 2006, we have inspired more than 32,000 people across America to rise from the ashes of addiction, toward lives of purpose, meaning, and fulfillment.”

Also through the website, the Phoenix is seeking a Wichita chapter manager and a CrossFit and group fitness coach.

Strode’s statement said he’s grateful to Stand Together and also wants to work with others in Wichita and Kansas who will support the Phoenix mission.

The Phoenix happens to be one of the organizations that Torchy’s Tacos supports. Earlier this week, Have You Heard? reported Torchy’s is opening its first Wichita restaurant at 21st and Rock Road next year.

The building where the Phoenix will open once was home to Duffens Optical but has been empty for some time.

Bradley Tidemann of J.P. Weigand & Sons and Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the Phoenix deal.

A spokeswoman for the Arlington-based Stand Together says the organization is focused on helping people reach their potential through breaking whatever barriers are in their way. Stand Together supports the Phoenix as the nonprofit helps individuals beat addiction.

She says there will be more information as plans develop for the Wichita site.

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