Incensed by hundreds of police calls and a fatal shooting in the parking lot, a St. Paul neighborhood group is now asking the city to place more restrictions on the Lamplighter Lounge, the only strip club in the city.
The North End Neighborhood Organization wants the city to require a host of security measures as part of its operating licenses renewal, including uniformed security guards patrolling the club and the parking lot; metal detectors at the entrance; and surveillance cameras recording activity around the club and the parking lot.
The City Council will hear public comment on the matter Wednesday morning and will deliberate at its weekly meeting that afternoon.
"Our goal is to reduce the violence in that area associated with that business," said North End Neighborhood Board Chairwoman Karin Groening. "We are asking for some conditions on the license mostly on having security … not just inside the establishment but in the parking lot."
Since 2018, police have visited the club 729 times, according to police data obtained by the neighborhood organization. Approximately 562 were classified as proactive police visits.
Makeup artist Nia Black was shot in the parking lot outside the club last June and died of her injuries. A St. Paul man has been charged with her murder.
This club is in an bustling strip mall at the corner of Rice Street and Larpenteur Avenue that's also home to a large thrift store, Thai restaurant, laundromat and nail salon.
Kerry Antrim, executive director of the North End Neighborhood Organization, said it's an important and busy community crossroads, and people in the community, especially those who live in nearby apartments, are fed up. Many working-class families must walk past the parking lot to get to transit stops nearby, Antrim said.
"It's the neighborhood that is tired of all the violence stemming out of that location," Antrim said.
She said many residents in the apartment across from the Lamplighter have told the neighborhood group that they would like to see the club closed.
The club has a long and uneasy history with the surrounding neighborhood. In 2011, a young girl at the nearby laundromat was kidnapped and assaulted by a man patronizing the Lamplighter.
A Lamplighter manager was not available to speak to a reporter who stopped by the club Monday afternoon. The handful of patrons who entered the club at that time were required to go through a security screening. A club security officer scanned patrons' identifications, snapped photos of them and required them to walk through a floor-mounted metal detector. Customers who set off the metal detector were also subject to a pat-down.
Inside the dimly lit club, a woman wearing a costume that resembled a swimsuit danced behind a plastic partition at 2 p.m. Patrons were allowed to slip dollar bills in small cutouts in the glass. Dancers also gave lap dances to a few customers seated in the club.
According to city officials, LL Entertainment Services Inc., holds a business license, an on-sale liquor license and an entertainment license for nude performances at the club.
Shannon Prather • 651-925-5037