- Associated Press - Thursday, February 4, 2016

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Removing strip clubs from Williston’s downtown is not an act of ill will against adult entertainment businesses but rather part of a larger vision for the oil patch hub, Mayor Howard Klug said.

“I believe Williston is going to be the regional center of North Dakota,” Klug told the Williston Herald (https://bit.ly/1Sv5U9O ).

The City Commission last month restricted all exotic dancing to industrial zones on the city’s outer fringe within a year. Clubs with dancers also will be prohibited from serving alcohol and must obtain a cabaret license.

There are two strip clubs downtown, near a passenger train depot, a senior citizen center and the Chamber of Commerce. They’ve been the site of a fatal beating and a fatal shooting in recent years, and both clubs have had their liquor licenses suspended in the past because of disturbances.

Whispers’ management says that club plans to operate solely as a bar.

Heartbreakers - which accused the city of using misleading information on police calls to justify the strip club ban - is shopping for a real estate agent. However, owner Jared Holbrook said finding money to move to a new location could take him more than a year if the economy doesn’t pick up.

Klug foresees even more businesses in a revamped downtown when the current oil slowdown turns around.

“Hopefully we have some other people that will come in and spruce up some of the buildings downtown,” he said. “Then there will be a true shopping experience. One by one, things are improving in downtown.”

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Information from: Williston Herald, https://www.willistonherald.com

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