MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Strip clubs might be a thing of the past in Shelby County, but one city councilman wants to make them a thing of the future in Memphis.
Shea Flinn says he's working on finding a suitable location for an adult entertainment district in Memphis. If he finds one, and city council agrees, the city can make topless bars legal.
This plan isn't going over well, but Councilman Flinn says if he finds a spot where there are no schools, no homes, no problems, then he thinks there's no reason why the city can't open a regulated adult entertainment district.
You can see more skin at the local supermarket than at adult lounges these days. But if you're looking for naked, don't do Memphis and Shelby County. The adult bars don't do naked. But Shea Flinn says if our founding fathers were alive, they'd fight for the right to tuck a buck in a g-string.
"You can like it, hate it, or love it, but dancing has been declared as a form of speech protected by the Constitution of the United States of America. We have to respect that as well," Flinn said.
Councilman Flinn wants a regulated adult entertainment district, where the city can put all the skin and thoughts of sin in one area. Charge club owners a ton of money for a license, make sure there are no schools or homes anywhere near the area, and let the good times boom-chicka -boom-boom.
He liked the idea of President's Island, but Homeland Security didn't.
"Because of the port there, Homeland Security had some real concerns about it. I'm not going to argue with Homeland Security," Flinn explained. "It's a painstaking process of trying to find suitable land that could be a win-win for everybody, and that's taking some time. And you know, there's a lot of other stuff going on in the city. But we have not given up the search and it shall continue."
It is true that Shelby County now has one tough law concerning topless clubs, as in they don't exist any more. Flinn says if the city council likes his idea, the city can write their own laws for adult clubs. But he expects fights and opposition.
Chris Devine, who opposes the idea, told abc24.com, "What that would bring to a neighborhood would just bring in a lot of negative energy into the neighborhood, a lot of negative connotations that would come along with an adult entertainment district. So I would be 100 percent against that."
Adult entertainment districts in other cities have had mixed results. Boston is a place where they tried it in an area of downtown called 'The Combat Zone.' There was so much violence that city leaders admitted failure and shut it down.
Shelby County Commissioner Mike Ritz, who was the man responsible for making county laws so tough on strip clubs, couldn't talk on camera but he told ABC 24 Bulldog Mike Matthews what he thought about Flinn's idea. He doesn't like it at all, and he's "gravely concerned" about the possibility of it being approved.
The city council does have a budget battle ahead of them, and it will take up most of their time. But Flinn promises this issue will come up. It's not if, he says, it's when.