By Paul Gable
Nearly seven years after the Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park was torn down, a proposal has surfaced to bring rides back to the nearly vacant site.
According to recent media reports, Strates Shows of Orlando, FL is working with site owner Burroughs & Chapin, Inc. to open a three month, summer season carnival on a portion of the former Pavilion property.
On the surface, bringing rides back to that traditional downtown area of the oceanfront seems like a good idea. It always seemed a bad idea that former B&C president Doug Wendel wanted to do away with the Pavilion in the first place.
The demise of the Pavilion was followed a few years later by the demise of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce’s Sun Fun Festival, the traditional opening celebration of the summer season.
Summer on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach just didn’t feel the same anymore.
However, the proposal is meeting with mixed responses. Some of the business owners in the area expressed reservations about an out-of-town business coming into the area to take advantage of the best months only to disappear during the shoulder and off-seasons when business falls off. That is a valid concern.
Additionally, Myrtle Beach city council reacted negatively to the idea at its budget workshop in Pinopolis. Council members generally felt a temporary carnival would run counter to the development that has occurred in the Pavilion area over the last few years – i.e. boardwalk, Nance Plaza and Plyler Park.
But, in reacting to ways to stop plans for the carnival, it was proposed that city attorney Tom Ellenberg draft an ordinance that would place a moratorium on issuing business licenses in the city’s AC-3 zone (the zoning classification for the downtown area including the former Pavilion site.) It was further proposed that the pending ordinance doctrine would be applied when the ordinance passes first reading.
Such a move by city council would effectively stop the carnival proposal, but would have much farther reaching consequences. It would mean no new businesses could open in the area while council mulls a permanent solution to the carnival question.
The owners of currently vacant buildings could not rent to prospective businesses because no business licenses could be issued in the entire zoning classification. In other words, business development would stop while the ordinance is in place.
This seems to have the effect of trying to kill a fire ant colony by dropping a nuclear bomb on it.
We are also hearing plans to re-route the U.S. 501 intersection with Kings Highway are again being talked about.
Since the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation brought Barry Landreth to the area in 2004, every time a step is taken in the former Pavilion area that could negatively affect businesses there, the question arises ‘what is really going on?’
Is a new land grab in the planning for the downtown, oceanfront business area?
That question seems to have arisen again.