City says strip club can't be stopped

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Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Mark Owen

METROPOLIS, Ill. - Many people who live nearby a new strip club are feeling upset. They are pointing fingers at the city of Metropolis for allowing it at all.

With the grand opening of the city's first adult entertainment club just days away, city leaders admitted there is nothing they can do to stop it but they also pledged to try everything to slow it down.

The city attorney said the Metro Pony has every legal right to operate in Metropolis, even though it's close to a subdivision.

The ordinance committee said if you can't beat them, bruise them.

They've pulled up an old "adult use" ordinance that they plan on beefing up and then using.

They say they'll watch every move made at the Metro Pony and if it's in violation, they'll fine the owner.

But some neighbors said that's still not enough.

"Very, very uneasy about the whole situation," said stay at home mom and mother of three Star Weaver.

Frustration would be an understatement.  She said it's also depressing and she simply can't believe it's happening.

She thought somehow the city could stop the Metro Pony from opening.

Today they admitted they could not stop the "Pony."

In a meeting that lasted well over an hour, the ordinance committee went back and forth discussing options to control what happens inside.

"You're acting like administrators and attorneys," said neighbor Don Snodgrass. "You're failing to protect the people and that's what a leader is called on to do."

Snodgrass stormed out of the meeting because he said the city isn't doing enough and is ignoring the public.

"You can't just adopt a blanket ban on that in your community," said city attorney, Rick Abell.

He said despite public perception, they are trying.

"Hopefully by adopting appropriate regulations, we can make it less economically attractive for him to be here."

They have their hopes pinned on a 1993 ordinance that restricts which body parts can be shown inside businesses which serve alcohol. Tonight, the city pledges to follow the letter of the law and fine the Pony any time it's in violation..

"It seems like they could make a compromise, somehow."

Weaver said she is going to do what she can to keep her son as far away from Metro Pony as possible.

"I'm going to move everything away from the road, to make sure my kids don't go past or near the road."

There are petitions circulating the community. Neighbors said most everyone's very responsive and signing on the dotted line. They plan on presenting the signatures to the mayor before the club opens Dec. 1.

The owner of the Metro Pony said he's not worried about the petitions, and especially not the ordinance, because he doesn't plan on breaking any laws.

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