The citizens of Destin are looking to lawyer up in their fight with developers of the city’s first strip club.
And to accomplish that, they are actively seeking donations from the community.
"We need funding to pay for legal fees and filing fees," said resident Patti Terjak, who is leading the group Citizens for a Greater Destin (CGD).
The group formerly known as the Destin Residents Against the Adult Cabaret (DRAAC) may have changed its name but they have not had a change of heart. Now officially called the Citizens for a Greater Destin, the group of concerned residents continues its work to block the club from moving to Destin.
"DRAAC sounded kind of ugly, unlike the beautiful, peaceful Destin we know," said Terjak, "We didn't want our name to be negative; we want people to know that we're positive and we stand for something."
Terjak says the newly-revamped group has more than 250 members and is gaining more daily as they continue to draw their proverbial line in the sand against the club.
It may be an uphill battle, though, with city leaders saying their hands are tied, and developers making progress toward opening a 5,000 square foot club on Airport Road.
While local developers of the club have been tight-lipped, The Runway recently launched its website at runwaydestin.com, which states they will open sometime this spring. The website offers job opportunities and an Asian-inspired menu with selections like cheeseburger eggrolls.
But residents want to block the club long before it can serve its first customer.
"We're not using any of the money for anything else” other than lawyer fees, Terjak told The Log. “We're not going to print a thousand fliers or anything with money from the account."
A new name isn't the only change the group has made in recent weeks. Now officially operating as a nonprofit organization, the CGD have formed various boards and committees and set up a bank account in the group’s name.
For anyone wanting to donate, the group has established an account at the First Florida Bank at 125 Main Street in Destin — checks can be made out to the Citizens for a Greater Destin. Visit the group’s Facebook page or their website at citizensforagreaterdestin.com to donate via PayPal.
Terjak, a longtime Destin resident and an original member of the homegrown anti-strip club movement, has been named president of the board of directors within the CGD.
Terjak told The Log that setting up the bank account was the first step.
You can also find a copy of the group’s online petition — which currently has about 1,500 signatures — on their Facebook page or website. They are also collecting signatures from residents only for a paper petition.
Area churches have also joined the fight and are holding prayer walks through Mar. 29 every Friday at 3:33 p.m. starting at Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church on Airport Road. The first walk took place on Feb. 15.
“It was certainly not a big group, but it was powerful,” one local posted on Facebook after attending.