Elisa Sand reports that the Knight Foundation has given Aberdeen $20K to see how suitable the upper floors of our august downtown buildings are for housing. Heidi Appel, Aberdeen Downtown Association exec, appears to understand that mixing upstairs residential and downtown commercial uses is good downtown policy:
“We know people want to be downtown,” she said.
…Appel cited two projects that will create new apartments on Main Street, including a renovation project at 321 S. Main St. that will be completed later this year and a recently completed project at 224 S. Main.
“All in all, I think this will help us in bringing property investment downtown,” Appel said.
In theory, she said, income from second-story apartments can help offset the cost of owning a downtown building.
While any type of development is positive for the community, Appel said second-story apartments don’t require added infrastructure like roads or utility lines.
“It should hold a better value for the city,” she said [Elisa Sand, “Second-Story Development Being Assessed,” Aberdeen American News, 2015.07.10].
Aberdeen apparently is learning from Sioux Falls that downtown housing is essential to rejuvenating urban core business areas.
The Downtown Association has another golden—or at least silver—opportunity to boost Main Street: buy the Silver Dollar strip joint and shut it down:
Owners Marissa and Trish Jondahl have put the business up for sale at $775,000. The sale is listed through Re/Max Preferred Choice in Aberdeen.
According to the real estate listing, the Silver Dollar “is a currently operating gentleman’s club, historical in the city” [Elisa Sand, “Silver Dollar up for Sale,” Aberdeen American News, 2015.07.11].
Ah, realtors and their euphemisms. “Gentlemen” do not exploit women and pay money for sexual arousal. “Historical” overstates the club’s longevity, which Marissa Johndal puts at over 40 years.
The Johndals and the realtors will likely say nothing about the historical note that two Silver Dollar patrons got in a fight that led to one man’s death right outside the strip club in May. Ah, but as the owners were quick to point out after Bradley Quist’s arrest for killing Ronald Witchey, that death didn’t take place on their property:
“We are saddened to lose a regular of ours,” Trish Jondahl said of Witchey. “We also want people to know that this did not occur in the bar and had nothing to do with the employees or the bar. It happened outside the old Natural Abundance building.”
The bar and the former store’s building are located next to each other.
Jondahl confirmed that Quist was also a regular of the Silver Dollar Bar. She also confirmed that at some point both men had been in the Silver Dollar Bar earlier that night. [Scott Waltman and Kelda Pharris, “Update: Aberdeen Man Charged with Manslaughter After Overnight Death,” Aberdeen American News, 2015.05.30].
Two of your patrons get in a fight, one ends up dead within crawling distance of your door, and you slag another business by associating the killing with their name—again, far from gentlemanly.
On the faintly less dim side, the female owners are giving up the nudie bar because they’d rather take care of their own daughters than exploit other people’s daughters:
Marissa Jondahl said she and Trish Jondahl have had a few life changes recently that factored into the sale, including the arrival of two daughters in the last 16 months.
“At this point in time, the bar needs us in the evening and so do our girls, which has been the deciding factor in us passing this great place on to someone who can be there and continue to give it the love it deserves,” she said [Sand, 2015.07.11].
“Love” is another euphemism for what Silver Dollar patrons seek. Folks who love downtown would buy the Silver Dollar, tear out the pole and other misogynist accoutrements, and open a business that won’t deter the creation of other downtown businesses and apartments and doesn’t require Aberdonians to make excuses for that block of Main Street.