LAVONIA, Ga. (AP) – A small town in northeast Georgia has bought a strip club, but it’s not planning to get into the adult entertainment business.

The town of Lavonia could have used nearly $1 million to pay off the bond fund for a water treatment plant upgrade. Instead, officials bought Cafe Risque, which they have long tried to shut down.

Lavonia’s mayor got a standing ovation when he announced the deal at a meeting earlier this week. Crews took down the signs advertising it and burned them in a large bonfire at the strip club site, near a major highway.

Florida businessman Jerry Sullivan opened Cafe Risque in 2001. The city went to court several times to close it, but Sullivan’s lawyers argued successfully that nude dancing was a constitutionally protected form of expression.

Lavonia has since passed an ordinance outlawing adult entertainment businesses.

Sullivan died in his sleep in 2006, but the club continued to operate. The city was finally able to buy it after negotiations.

AP-ES-07-31-08 1747EDT

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