The former Saddle Jack’s Bar and Grill at 1545 N. U.S. 1 is being turned into a Cheaters, the pink-pigmented strip joint (not to be confused with “Cheaters” the television series of a different voyeuristic kind). Cheaters’ Cocoa Beach twin claims “the hottest girls in Florida with over 40 beautiful women ready to cater to your every desire,” though it still goes by the pretense of a “bikini bar.”
Its arrival on the outskirts of Ormond Beach, an easy ride across the Flagler County line, triggered an outcry–and plans by Ormond Beach to annex the property in order to paste more stringent rules on it, such as forcing it to remove its pink outer skin for something more brownish. Some 120 people turned out at an Ormond Beach City Commission meeting last night to press for the annexation. The commission voted unanimously to annex, and is schedule to complete the matter on Oct. 5. The following is an opinion column contributed by an activist against the strip joint.
By Jim Raley
I am privileged to chair the group “Unity in the Community.” We represent thousands of concerned citizens who stand in opposition to the adult entertainment venue “Cheaters” attempting to open on U.S. 1 near the intersection with I-95.
One of the main questions that many critics of our efforts are asking is this: Why are we fighting the expansion of this business in our area? Why on earth are they fighting a harmless “Bikini Bar”? They see “Cheaters” as a win for the community in the sense that it will create much needed jobs and tax revenue. However, we need to look at the entire picture and simply weigh out the facts.
The track record of these owners in other cities, such as Cocoa Beach, has been to establish “Cheaters” as a beachhead. They then purchase surrounding properties and expand their businesses. Entire areas are converted into places where strip clubs, porn shops and sex stores abound. Already, the owner of Vanacore Construction has said that he has fielded several calls from people interested in leasing space to open businesses for porn shops and sex stores. They desire to move in as close to “Cheaters” as possible.
First and foremost we must not kid ourselves. These guys are in the sex business. Even “Cheaters” owners won’t deny that there will be poles and private rooms available for those who wish for a more “intimate” experience. Bear in mind, this part of U.S.1 is the gateway into Ormond and Daytona to the south, and Palm Coast and Bunnell to the north. Are these clubs and stores what we truly want as the welcome centers for our city?
To address the economic impact, it must be noted that wherever these types of businesses flourish property values plummet. The little tax revenue that would be produced by “Cheaters” and these types of venues would quickly be erased and eclipsed when compared to the loss resulting from the depreciation of home and land values.
There is also a huge development slated to go forward in that area called “Ormond Crossings.” It will eventually produce millions of dollars in tax revenue, and meanwhile employ many people through the construction and completion of this vast project. Do we want to risk frightening away potential investors because we allowed “Cheaters” and their friends to invade our community?
Finally, is this the really the type of business image that we want? Our area is filled with a lot of good, decent, moral folks of every conceivable background. We want to raise our families and live in a place we can feel safe and be proud of. And make no mistake about it, we are united and we will be heard.
So to address our critics who feel like it would be a win if “Cheaters” and their associates come this way, read this carefully. If they come to our area, we will lose and they will win. They will get rich off of our pain, the pain of seeing our property values decrease, the pain of seeing investors walk out on us, and the pain of a moral and ethical blow to our city and county. May we unite and declare, “Cheaters” will never prosper in our community.