A small Logan County bar has lost the pole – for now.
Bikini-clad women dancing around a pole could harm the well-being and the safety of residents in Adairville, Logan County Judge-Executive Logan Chick ruled Thursday.
The plan to offer pole dancing at Tenn-Tucky State Line Tavern in Adairville has ignited the town of about 850 residents, inciting protests and petitions from people who oppose pole dancing.
Now, Chick has ruled against a request for an entertainment permit to hold pole dancing events there, and owner Sheila Haley says she plans to appeal the ruling.
“I’m within my legal rights. If I can’t get an entertainment permit, can’t nobody,” she said Thursday, adding that she’s reached out to local officials to determine the steps to appeal the decision, and no one will answer her. “It’s really irritating that they can deny me, but yet nobody has any answers.”
Chick declined to comment on the details of his ruling when reached by phone Thursday.
Chick denied the entertainment permit because the proposal “could have an irreversible impact on the safety and well-being of the residents of this county, as well as those who are required to regulate this establishment,” according to the ruling.
But Haley has repeatedly stated that the pole dancing events will be professional and safe, that she has hired security guards and that she has experienced no trouble in eight years of owning the bar.
“I think he should not make such a decision on what might happen in the future – anything could happen,” she said. “If I felt bad (things would happen), I wouldn’t have done it in the first place.”
The bar operates in a single building that sits on the Kentucky-Tennessee state line, dividing the business between the two states.
Chick said in his ruling that he questions whether the bar is split by state lines like the owners claim, and a Logan County surveyor suggested a professional survey be performed to determine the true jurisdiction.
But, judging by the line drawn in the middle of the bar to separate the two states, Chick claims that the door on the Kentucky side is inoperable, therefore law enforcement officials could not enter. Alcohol is sold on the Tennessee side, and there’s minimal business on the Kentucky side, the ruling said.
Haley says slow business on the Kentucky side is the reason behind her pole dancing idea – she believes pole dancing would give the area an economic boost, she said.
As for the ruling’s claim of an inoperable door on the Adairville side, “it’s not inoperable, it’s just locked,” Haley said. “I told him I would unlock that door ... I told him I would open it.”
The ruling also highlights an April 24 public hearing, claiming that out of 135 people, 112 opposed an entertainment permit for pole dancing.
Many of those people have been vocal about their opposition, much of it stemming from religious reasons. About 300 people came together in early April to oppose pole dancing in Adairville and pray for Haley to change her mind.
They claimed that pole dancing is morally wrong and would promote unhealthy living, poor self-images for girls, pornography, prostitution, drugs and violence.
Adairville Mayor Jim Wilkerson told the Daily News in early April that he hoped Haley would have a change of heart, and the prayer gathering was an attempt “to try to defeat Satan.”
But some customers are disappointed in the ruling, claiming there’s nothing wrong with a bar offering pole dancing and if people don’t like it, they don’t have to go.
“Logan County and mainly Adairville, they don’t want change. There’s a whole lot who want it to stay like it was in the early 1900s,” Cyndi Bratcher, a former Adairville resident, said Thursday. “If they don’t like what’s going on out there, they don’t have to pull into the parking lot.”
Bratcher argued that there are a couple support beams inside the bar, and women dance around them all the time, and it hurts nobody, she said. Also, if people are afraid of women dancing in bikinis, there’s plenty of other places they should stay away from, Bratcher said.
“They don’t need to turn their televisions on. They don’t need to go to the beach,” she said. “‘Dancing with the Stars,’ it’s a lot more revealing that what would be going on at the state line.”