Posted Online: July 11, 2006, 12:00 am
Bikiniís or no Bikiniís? Keithsburg discusses topless bar
Comment on this story
By Jason M. Rodriguez, email@example.com
KEITHSBURG -- More than 60 people crammed into city hall Monday discuss Bikini's Bar and Grill and its topless entertainers, but it was pretty much a one-man show.
Rev. Frank J. Mack, former pastor of First Christian Church in Keithsburg, spoke for about a half hour about Bikini's, saying the town has been called "Sin City" and this new topless bar has made the river town "the filthy cess pool of Western Illinois."
"I'm saddened, and I'm disappointed that this gentleman has seen fit to degrade our fair city and by doing so he had degraded every woman and every girl in the City of Keithsburg," Rev. Mack said, referring to Bikini's owner Guy Brenkman. "Keithsburg could be one of the garden spots of the Midwest."
Rev. Mack said Mr. Brenkman could use his money for good, such as building a community center, a swimming pool, tennis courts or help improve sidewalks and streets. He said he believes Mr. Brenkman went against his word when he said he would go "up to the line, but not cross it."
Mr. Brenkman first approached the city council last year to open a gentlemen's club. When that idea was shot down by the public, he forged ahead and bought the former Lighthouse Restaurant nestled on the banks of the Mississippi River. The city drafted amendments to their liquor and special use ordinances to prevent any "striptease" clubs from opening.
Mr. Brenkman announced he would open a "Hooters-style" eatery at the place. Days before opening, a stripper pole was installed surrounded by mirrors on a stage and plush couches lined the walls. He announced then that he would have Bikini-clad women serving drinks and performing on stage.
It turned out the entertainers were wearing string bikinis.
Starting about six weeks ago -- the entertainers went topless. This is the first council meeting where the public was allowed to speak on the issue.
Rev. Mack challenged the location of Bikini's, noting he was a former land surveyor. By Illinois law and local ordinance, adult entertainment facilities are to be at least 1,000 feet away from such places as churches, schools and parks. He said the bar is only 680 feet away from a park, but did not specify which park.
He encouraged aldermen to stand up against the "immoral" business.
"Stand up for decency, and do not allow someone to come from Peoria (Mr. Brenkman's previous residence) or anywhere for that matter to come in and destroy it with the filthy garbage that comes from one single, stinking business," Rev. Mack said.
Shelley Brownfield said she was boating on July 2 near Bikinis when one woman, who exited the bar with another woman, "spread her legs, bent over and exposed herself" in a "sexually suggestive manner."
No official action was taken. Aldermen and Mayor Jim Stewart were silent during the public discussion. Once the discussion part of the meeting was finished, the council adjourned into closed session.