New nightclub raises concerns

Wednesday, March 14th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

One of the busiest areas of Tulsa may get even busier soon. A proposed mega-night club could be moving in near Woodland Hills mall. KOTV's Sean Mosssman was at that location with more on the new club and the fight area residents waging against it.

The nearly 25,000 square foot nightclub would go, in an old movie theater. But, some in the surrounding neighborhoods don't like the idea. Tuesday night, it looks like those residents lost their fight. The stretch of road between 61st and 71st on Memorial may be one of the busiest in all of Tulsa. And, It may get a little busier soon.

The City of Tulsa Board of Adjustment gave the go ahead Tuesday for the old movie theater to be turned into a giant nightclub. Five nightclubs in fact, under one roof. The owners of the national chain, Grahams Country Stations, convinced the board to re-zone the old theater to allow alcohol sales. But some potential neighbors say it's too close to where high school kids cruise on weekends. One nearby resident, Raylene Andrews says, "now we're gonna put, intentionally put people who have been drinking alcohol on the street with those kids. We're doing it on purpose."

The neighbors say they're also concerned with noise, traffic and crime in their neighborhoods. To help ease those worries the board stipulated that Grahams must build a retaining wall to stifle noise. They must also provide parking lot security and close on Mondays and Tuesdays. Restrictions the owners say they can live with. President of Graham Country Stations, Roger Gearhart says, "We've already met with them last week and tried to put a lot of their fears to rest. I think we're the best in the country at outside security. I think we're the best in the country at keeping people from driving when they've had too much to drink." And that's maybe the biggest concern, of the area residents. That a night club, with no food service, will release alcohol-impaired drivers into their neighborhoods.

Gearhart says the company plans to block parking lot exits into those neighborhoods. That promise, along with the company’s anti-drunk driving policies, was apparently good enough to convince the city. It's unclear when the transfer of the building and parking lot will be made to Grahams. It could be months or years before the nightclub actually opens here.

Tuesday night was just the first hurdle in the opening of the new business