Twist gets dance permit

FRESNO, Calif. "I've always just wanted to get going and you know, be the business and have people come, enjoy themselves."

Co-owner Thomas Del Castillo applied for a dance permit more than a year ago. But it wasn't until two weeks ago the city planning commission voted unanimously to approve the permit making twist a "nightclub."

The process was slow until the city loosened its permit procedures. But safety concerns still remained.

Police say they've made several visits to the club. And just last month two people were shot in the parking lot outside roe nightclub which is just a few doors down.

Castillo says safety is their main priority and they now have the security measures to back it up.

"We have interior security, we have an exterior parking lot security guard, state licensed. Voluntarily what we also did was hire contracted police security."

Castillo isn't the only nightclub promoter hoping to make Fresno a social destination. Rick Mirigian manages The Penthouse. A nightclub in the 2nd-level lounge of Downtown Fresno's Chukchansi Park.

His next venture is called Fresno Live. He plans to transform three areas in the park into nightclubs including the Tecate Cantina and the pool near the outfield. "And the more people that go downtown, that play downtown will stay downtown and I think entertainment is the key to revitalizing downtown."

Like Castillo, Mirigian has also faced his share of obstacles regarding safety and permits.

Still, both say their ventures will work and Fresno will ultimately grow. "Fresno is definitely going to be a cool hub in the central valley it was always meant to be."

The dance permit here at twist is conditional and will expire in a year.

City officials tell us they will keep a close on the club and could revoke the permit if problems arise. Meanwhile, Rick Mirigian hopes to open Fresno Live by mid-June.

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