Despite opposition, strip club opens near HISD stadium

August 4, 2011 6:56:40 AM PDT
A strip club at the center of a long-running controversy opened Wednesday evening. What's upsetting some isn't just what the businesses offers but also where it's located. The business is where the old Steak & Ale restaurant used to be on Mangum near the Northwest Freeway.

For two years, this place has been threatening to open as a topless club and Wednesday was the night. It was the grand opening for the Sunset Strip, and while there may be happy customers inside, there are not happy neighbors.

Decked out in uniforms of tight red dresses and tall black boots, the girls were gearing up for their first night of work. Shortly before the doors opened, some were taking a smoke break while workers were making adjustments on the roof. It is a big day for the Sunset Strip, but a bad one for David Edwards.

"As far as adults go I don't care; it's the children I worry about," Edwards said.

From the front of his neighborhood, you can see the topless club's front door on Mangum and Highway 290. From his backyard, you can see one of its signs.

"Once they have the spotlights going and all that, my kids are gonna be asking questions," Edwards said.

A big concern, though, is the club's neighbor to the southeast, Delmar Stadium where student athletes practice and play all school year long. Despite HISD's protests, Sunset Strip met all the requirements and was granted a sexually oriented business license. It is outside the required 1,500-foot perimeter, but that still doesn't satisfy Edwards.

"Come on man, there are other places you can do this. You don't need to be doing it where there's gonna be children going to football games or around neighborhoods," he said.

HISD is right there with him. A spokesman told us, "We remain opposed to the sexually oriented business being located that close to a high school facility. We believe strongly that it's inappropriate."

While employees seemed anxious to get to work, a manager sent us a statement that reads in part, "The Sunset Club met all locational and other requirements as is evidenced by its having all permits, approvals and licenses required by the state of Texas and the city of Houston."

Neighbor Stephen Barnes, whose business and home are both just across the freeway, will reserve judgment.

"I have no idea how a business like that will affect my house or my business one way or the other; it remains to be seen," Barnes said.

Among other things the manager put in his statement, he wrote they've worked hard to be a good neighbor.

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