Updated 02/08/12 – 5:18 p.m.
STONE PARK, Ill. (CBS) — Some nuns in western suburban Stone Park are working to keep a strip club from opening next to their convent.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo, or the Scalabrians, said they first heard rumors, then found out the building being erected behind theirs will be a gentlemen’s club called Get It.
Sister Marissonia Daltoe said the planned strip club flies in the face of the religious life the nuns are trying to create.
“We are concerned about the neighborhood youth. There are plenty of problems in the area, and we don’t want to have another one,” Daltoe said.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports
Sister Marcana Zambiasi told CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov the nuns don’t object only to the fact that the strip club would be in sight of their convent, but that it exists at all so close to a residential area.
“We are not concerned only about ourselves here, but about the neighborhood children,” Zambiasi said.
Stone park officials said the area was rezoned two years ago, but the nuns said they knew nothing about it. That’s because they never got a letter telling them of the plan for the strip club and a public hearing on the issue.
Stone Park’s attorney, Dean Krone, wouldn’t go on camera but said the letter was sent to the wrong address and, even though the application for the club was initially denied, the village allowed the project after the developer filed a lawsuit.
Zambiasi said, even after learning that they weren’t notified about the plans for the neighboring site, they still tried to protest the plan.
“We did. We did continue. We sent out the letters. We picked up more signatures from the neighbors,” she said.
Neighbor Elidio Valle said, “To be honest, I think it’s a bad idea, but I mean, I guess someone who doesn’t, he’d just care about the money.”
Zambiasi said the nuns would “keep praying” that the strip club will not open.
The strip club owner could not be reached for comment.
The nuns are not alone in their opposition to the strip club.
Ronald Serpico, the mayor of neighboring Melrose Park said, “I am shocked and sickened by the placement of an adult entertainment business immediately adjacent to residential areas of Melrose Park. The siting and construction of this business, which was authorized by the Village of Stone Park, was not only ill thought-out, but I can only assume that no consideration for neighboring residents was given at all.
“I strongly urge the Village of Stone Park to use any and all means to stop this business from going forward in its slated location. I advise them to take whatever actions are necessary to remove this reprehensible establishment from an area where children play and where a group of sisters from the Roman Catholic Church make their home. And I pledge to do all I can as Mayor of Melrose Park to see to it that this operation is not allowed to go into business.”
For generations, the small suburb Stone Park has been infamous as a seedy place, with strip clubs and adult bookstores lining the major roadways, prostitutes working the streets, and organized crime figures running the show.
Legend has it that Al Capone himself ran a brewery in Stone Park during the Great Depression. Another Chicago Outfit figure, Rocco Pranno, made Stone Park his base of operations in the 1960s, and ran his crime syndicate from an office table at Club D’Or on Mannheim Road while his brother ran all the town’s political offices, the Encyclopedia of Chicago recalls.
But current Stone Park Mayor Beniamino Mazzulla told the Chicago Sun-Times he is trying to shake the sleazy image in the town.