A new Buffalo strip club generates a new debate

Plan for strip club promises financial benefit, but isn't a problem-free proposal

Despite the surge of new and exciting attractions and construction projects in Buffalo, the city faces a lot of challenges. From better schools and funding for the arts to improved outreach for the homeless, there’s plenty that Buffalo needs.

One thing the city may not need? A strip club.

But that’s up to the city to decide – and it’s not a seemingly obvious choice.

Buffalo, which is already home two such clubs, is in the process of potentially gaining a third. The topic split our editorial board. Some were unbothered by the possibility, while others worried about its location and merits. It’s clear the city’s Common Council has a lot to consider in deciding in a vote if the project will get the required occupancy permit.

Though bringing new business to Buffalo is invariably a benefit, as it will generate job opportunities and revenue, the location of the club is somewhat questionable.

Buffalo business owner Dan Connors wants to renovate a location on William Street to establish a strip club on the corner of Bailey Avenue.

According to Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda, the new strip club would be located within a mile of another club, where police have had to respond to shootings and a homicide.

This new club, which WIVB reported would be the largest in the state, could bring economic upturn to the area, but along with financial benefits could come crime, violence and degradation.

Derenda’s concerns are certainly legitimate, but is it fair to assume Connors’ club would bring the same problems?

Connors, who has already invested $350,000, said “it’s not going to be something that’s out of control,” as he told WIVB, but even if the new strip club is violence-free, there’s a question of if it’s necessary to the area.

The area is heavily residential, with housing branching out from every street north of the Bailey and William intersection. Some of those residents may not appreciate a strip club as their new neighbor. The Common Council should reach out to the community before making its decision.

Hennepin Park is just three blocks – less than a quarter mile – away from the location.

The park includes a playground, tennis and basketball courts and a community center, and this summer, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown included it in the city’s $4 million investment to improve public parks.

The question of whether the strip club should be allowed to open is grabbing people and the police’s attention. But in perspective, Buffalo has one strip club for every roughly 125,000 residents. A city like Portland, Oregon – albeit a bigger city and known for its number of such establishments – has one club for about every 9,500 people.

Different cities are going to have different ideologies, but it seems unlikely the whole city will be damned with the addition of a new club. Connors has already received the appropriate permits to renovate the building – he’s just waiting on the Common Council’s vote.

But ultimately, those living by the potential club are the ones who are going to be the most affected. The decision shouldn’t come down to whether one views strip clubs as moral or immoral, but how it could affect the community.

It’s imperative the Common Council consider if there is legitimate concern the club will draw criminal activity. Connors has the right to open his club – so long as the business doesn’t bring with it a slew of new problems.

email: editorial@ubspectrum.com