City warns Springfield business about opening ‘gentleman’s club’

A downtown Springfield business is moving forward with plans to open what it called a gentleman’s club, despite a warning from city officials.

Jazzy G’s Gentleman’s Club is set to open in May at 42 N. Fountain Ave., according to Ardell Williams, who is involved in the opening.

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The location is home to Voodoo Moon House of Blues and Brews, which is owned by Renea Turner. She said she is providing her establishment to test this concept, which she feels could draw new investments to downtown Springfield.

Williams said he has been working with Turner on the details of the club, which will still house Voodoo Moon four days of the week.

Turner said Williams is not a business partner, but will be in charge of networking at the new club.

The city of Springfield sent Turner a letter on Feb. 28 warning her that if she went through with the opening, she could be violating zoning regulations for her downtown business. In the letter, the city states that the current zoning of her business does not allow for an “adult business,” which is defined as “any sexually oriented business which focuses upon sexual activities and/or anatomical areas in conducting a business for adult entertainment.”

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Examples of this type of business are adult cabaret, adult arcades or adult book stores.

The letter states, “City staff would not support a rezoning of the property to allow for an ‘adult business’ as the CI-1 Zoning Classification would not be consistent with the surrounding zoning designations.”

This type of business would only be permitted with a CI-1 zoning classification, which the establishment does not currently have.

The city learned of the proposed opening through a Feb. 26 Facebook post, said Stephen Thompson, administrator for Planning, Zoning and Code. He said the description of the club in the post, which included ‘VIP/private dances,’ had characteristics of an “adult business.”

Despite the warning letter, Turner and Williams said the club fits within regulations.

If the club is successful, Turner said Williams could take the club’s concept and invest in his own establishment. She said that’s when zoning regulations would come into play.

“What we are doing is 100 percent legal,” Turner said. “It’s entertainment. It’s literally no different than what I’ve been doing all these years.”

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Turner said the venue has hosted Chippendale dancers in the past, and it did not create an issue with zoning. Williams said Turner has assured him that they are in compliance.

Williams said there would be no nudity, which he said separates it from a strip club. Williams referenced clubs in bigger cities where women are seen as “art” and there are clothed performances by women.

A Facebook post by Williams describing the club references “lingerie-fitted waitresses.”

Turner said she has been working in the bar business for 20 years, six of which have been in downtown Springfield. She feels the area is in need of revitalization and change.

“Springfield is not thriving, like people tend to think they are,” she said. “You can go downtown on a Friday or Saturday night, and it’s empty. (This idea) will bring something new to downtown.”

Williams said the club will be open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and will be open to patrons 21 and older.

“This is a place of adults after 8 o’clock,” he said. “They can have business meetings there. It’s a little spot to take their friends and family when they come into town.”

Turner said the venue will host burlesque, drag shows and other performances in the future.

City officials said they are monitoring the situation.


The Springfield News-Sun is committed to covering business and development in the city of Springfield and will continue to provide updates on this important story.

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