19 November 2007

Another Washington Park

The Village of Washington Park, in Illinois, has a rather different economy than the neighborhood in Denver where I reside.

The Village’s economy is dependent on adult entertainment. As our previous opinion, Joelner v. Village of Washington Park, 378 F.3d 613, 616 (7th Cir. 2004)(“Joelner I”), sets forth in more detail, the Village derives almost 100% of its income from the adult entertainment industry, a situation that the tiny Village has admitted it is doing little to remedy. See John McCormick, Cashstrapped Town Relies on Strip Clubs to Pay Bills, Chi. Trib., Apr. 29, 2003, at A1. As of June 2006, the Village licensed eight adult cabarets in its surrounding 2.5 mile span, including two cabarets under new construction.

It wasn't always so different, however. The neighborhood was incorporated as the City of South Denver prior to being amalgamated into the City and County of Denver, in order to restrain the predominant industry in the area, bawdy drinking establishments on South Broadway.


michaelmalak said...

You neglected to include Denver's colorful adult industry history.

Denver's red-light district used to be Larimer St. Then Denver decided to do some urban renewal and tear down the buildings from which the adult establishments were leasing.

The adult industry relocated to Broadway & Bayaud. Kitty's took over the Webber Theater with a really long lease (having learned that lesson once before).

Next door to Kitty's was a gay bordello, since torn down and now a vacant lot.

Market forces took over, and now Pleasures opened up next door and drove Kitty's out of business.

It's ironic since South Denver was founded to avoid the sins of downtown Denver, but then had to merge in with Denver during the Silver Crash of 1893. Today, South Denver is still populated with families. 40% of the population is married, compared with 50% nationwide and 15% in downtown Denver. The relocation of Denver's red light district is an oddity.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Omitted yes. Neglected no. I am not enough of a history buff to know those bits of neighborhood history and appreciate the insight.