[Weston, FL] No, this is not the plot of a new teen flick starring the latest heartthrob or the storyline of a very special episode of Glee!
This really happened – a small town in Florida has just banned skating rinks, dance halls and nightclubs. Cue the Kenny Loggins music.
Last week, the City of Weston outlawed these gathering places to “protect the quality of life,” that according to City Manager John Flint. The idea is to stop “unlawful incidents” before they happen, Flint told ABC News.
But before you you get Kevin Bacon on the phone, it must be noted that dancing and fun at youth clubs and school dances are still city-code compliant. Just no skating to ’70s disco or dancing that’s not part of a school function or youth group event. Or, seemingly, anywhere that serves booze.
OK, on second thought, go ahead and call Kevin Bacon.
“We were never planning to allow those uses in Weston,” said Weston Mayor Eric Hershof of skating rinks, dance halls and nightclubs, in an interview with the Sun-Sentinel. “This is something that we thought would protect the city.”
See, the town of 65,000, located in Broward County, was originally founded as a family-friendly place and rinks, halls and clubs breed crime. Hershof and his fellow town elders want to stop illegal activity before it happens by throwing out the “fun” baby with the “possible crime” bathwater.
And Weston’s self-proclaimed “progressive government” is OK with that.
“Weston is a family-oriented, master-planned community that strives to embrace each and every resident,” says the town’s website. “Weston’s well managed growth has given rise to one of South Florida’s most desirable communities, both residential and corporate.”
Sure, whatever. But they have to change other parts of their website.
“Restaurants and clubs, from casual to chic, and the beautiful Mediterranean styled Town Center downtown shopping and office complex, provide residents and visitors with an array of culinary, nightlife and shopping experiences,” it currently says.
See, up until last week, Weston was proud of “clubs” and “nightlife,” using the existence of such establishments to bring people in to their South Florida utopia. What changed?
“Safety is always our number one priority for our residents and everyone in our city,” City Commissioner Jim Norton wrote in an email, as reported by ABC News. “I believe we are doing exactly what the residents of our city want us to do as their elected representatives.”
Unless, of course, you are a DJ, bouncer, bartender or club-hopper.
By: Mark Christopher/Sunshine Slate
Image: City of Weston website