Leader Blues

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

TOP STORY >> Private club application pulled

By RICK KRON
Leader staff writer

There will be no new gentleman’s club or any other type of new private club in Jacksonville — at least for now.
An application to transfer the Planet Earth private club permit from Dennis Martindill, of Jacksonville, to a group wanting to operate a club on the north end of town was pulled Tuesday, a day before the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board directors were set to vote on the issue.
Attorney Stephen Morley, of North Little Rock, representing the group that had applied for the transfer, notified the ABC Board Tuesday that his client wished to have the application pulled from consideration.
The group wanting to open the new club listed Minor Booth, of Sherwood, as president and Ricky J. Edge, of Ward, as the club manager.

The initial application with the ABC stated that Booth and Edge planned to operate a private club at 6714 T. P. White, next to Faith Christian Center.

The application said that club activities could include a gentleman’s club atmosphere, pool tables, video games, a disc jockey, live bands and dancing.
Robert Moore, administrative director of the ABC Board, said the connotation of gentleman’s club is adult entertainment.

The application met stiff opposition from area churches, politicians and citizens as more than a dozen letters against the club were filed with the ABC Board, along with a petition of at least 300 names.
Morley told the ABC Board in a letter filed earlier in the month that his client was reconsidering his location plans and would submit a new application by Tuesday.
No new application was filed.

Rumors abound that the permit may eventually end up in the hands of a chain restaurant similar to Chili’s, which has experienced great success in its first three months in Jacksonville as a private club.
Because Jacksonville is located in Gray’s Township, a dry, or non-alcohol, area, any restaurant wanting to serve alcohol must open as a private club and be in possession of a private-club permit.
“We do not want a strip-club row here,” Larry C. Burton, senior pastor of McArthur Assembly of God, wrote in a letter to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

His church would be across the highway and south of the proposed club.
Wilbur Gene Gilliam, senior pastor for the Faith Christian Center, which would be less than 400 feet from the proposed club, also sent a letter of objections.

“We do not have anything against the people who own or patronize these type businesses, in general.
“We do, however, strongly oppose their type of business being close to a church or school,” Gilliam wrote in his objection.

He reminded the ABC Board that there were already four private clubs operating across the highway from his church and that there have been “fights, stabbings, shootings, and even people killed in or around those night clubs.”

Lonoke County Judge Charlie Troutman, Cabot Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh, Jacksonville Mayor Tommy Swaim and state representatives Susan Schulte and Sandra Prater have also filed letters of objections with the ABC Board.
Booth, president of the group which Martindill plans to give the club permit to, is the owner of Sensations, located across Hwy. 67/167 from the site of the new club.

Booth owns other clubs in central Arkansas, including All Stars in Sherwood, Legends in west Little Rock and Visions near Maumelle.

The Goal Post and Hollywood Country Club is also located on John Harden Drive and Martin-dill’s Hardrider Bar and Grill is in that same area of Pulaski County between Jacksonville and Cabot.