Local News

Folks Fight to Stop Topless Bar from Opening

Posted November 11, 1997

— It was capitalism versus community in Roanoke Rapids. At the heart of the battle, a topless bar. People living near a proposed nightclub were fighting as hard as they could to keep it from opening.

The owner of the Playgrounds Topless Entertainment club in Goldsboro had wanted to expand and open a similar adult entertainment center in Roanoke Rapids.

Thomas Carlson lives just 200 feet from the proposed business. He doesn't want a topless bar to move in. He says it will attract crime and troublemakers from Interstate-95.

"I haven't been raised that way," Carlson says. "None of my kids have been raised that way. I would hate to see them, myself and the neighbors exposed to it."

Carlson joins 700 other residents, mostly church members of the quiet town, to petition city leaders to keep the business out. The city passed an ordinance banning adult businesses within 500 feet of homes that takes effect in January, 1998.

Resident Steve Horne was born and raised in Roanoke Rapids. He considers his hometown a clean one. Henry Brown says residents have no need to worry about crime. He works day and night in a neighborhood across the street from the original club in Goldsboro. Brown says he's never known anyone there to cause problems in his neighborhood.

Police in smaller towns say clubs that come into smaller communities tend not to cause problems. That could be because the patrons want to go in and leave without being noticed.

The Goldsboro club owner has decided to select another location for a new club.

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