07/24/07 — Back to the drawing board

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Back to the drawing board

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on July 24, 2007 1:45 PM

Parker Harris will not open a teen club along Center Street -- at least not in the immediate future.

The 19-year-old's conditional land use request was denied Monday after Goldsboro City Council members received a letter from property owner Gerald Turner, withdrawing his support for the venture.

"On several occasions, I have spoken with Mr. Harris and told him I needed more information. He needed to get a hold of a contractor and figure out what he wanted to do with the exits and bathrooms," Turner said. "He neglected to follow the advice I gave him, so I was unable to let him continue to rent out that space."

Harris admits he might have looked at the project "backward," booking the bands and renting the space before taking insurance, facility repairs and code enforcement into account.

"I haven't gone to school for this. I haven't taken any business classes," he said. "We need to talk to a contractor, do it the right way. We just did everything backward."

There is still a chance Harris' club will open this year -- the community support is there, council members said they favor the idea, and Turner said he is willing to work with the teen again once he has "more knowledge under his belt."

"Where do I go from here? Fix that building, find a new one, I don't really know," Harris said. "All I know is that it's a great idea. We do need somewhere for kids to go in Goldsboro and I think (council members) recognize that. They just want to make sure that I'm doing what I need to do."

Turner said he sympathizes with Harris, that he knows just how difficult starting a business downtown can be. After all, the retired airman just opened The Flying Shamrock along John Street.

"It's not an easy process for anyone," Turner said. "It was a difficult enough process for one to do, and I know what all he went through."

But Harris is not finished yet -- he and his friends have already begun scouting a different downtown site for The Boot.

And until the club opens, he is sure that the county's teen population will remain bored or continue to travel somewhere else for live music -- "Greenville or Raleigh. ... Not here," he said.