MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A Memphis City Council member who once proposed an adult entertainment district for Presidents Island, an industrial site near downtown Memphis, said he got a call from the Department of Homeland Security nixing the idea.
Councilman Shea Flinn plans to reintroduce his plan next month to locate a district of strip clubs and other sex-oriented businesses somewhere in Memphis. But he said that when he first suggested a red-light district two or three years ago, he mentioned Presidents Island because limited access to the commercial and industrial district would make it relatively easy to police.
Flinn said he soon was contacted by "the Homeland Security in Washington."
"They didn't want to have it there," he said. The agency did not specify a particular business or activity on the island that would be threatened by strippers or partially clad dancers. Instead, they said, "Because it's a port," Flinn said.
Presidents Island is home to the U.S. Navy's Large Cavitation Channel. It is known as the world's biggest and most advanced pressurized water tunnel to test water flow around objects such as propellers and ship hulls and the noise they generate. The island also includes Cargill, one of the nation's biggest agricultural conglomerates
Flinn said he will propose a committee to look into a possible home for such a district, as well as whether "this is the right thing to do" and how it would work. But he won't be pushing for Presidents Island this time around.
"I do not make it my business to argue with Homeland Security," Flinn said. Instead of Homeland Security, Flinn's early opposition this time will come in the form of fellow Councilman Bill Boyd.
"I don't know of anyone who would want those types of businesses," said Boyd.Flinn said he has heard several interesting proposals for an adult entertainment district in other parts of town, but he declined to name them.
"I'm looking for a deliberative process here, and everyone else would rather scream, 'The sky is falling.' "