Post Tagged with: "tourism"

Horry County – A Fork In The Road

March 11, 2018 4:34 AM
Horry County – A Fork In The Road

(Ed. Note: This article was published in Alternatives Magazine nearly 20 years ago, four years before Marion Foxworth was the District 3 member for Horry County Council. It is reprinted here with permission from the former owner of Alternatives. It made interesting reading then and is even more so today. Carolina Forest was in the very early stages of changing from a tree farm to the most densely populated area in the unincorporated county. I would contend we have headed down the retirement community fork, with tourism on the wane, as witnessed by controversies over bike weeks and adult entertainment, the decline in golf, amusement parks and other entertainment venues as well as continuing issues with infrastructure and public safety. One only has to look at the history of the last 40 years in St. Augustine, FL to see the trend being repeated in Horry County.)

Quite a bit has been said and written about the tremendous growth that we have seen during the last few years.  Both Horry County and the City of Myrtle Beach have undertaken extensive efforts to establish updated comprehensive Masterplans.  The local daily newspaper devoted countless columns to a series entitled ‘Living in a Boom Town’. And most recently, residents have turned out in record numbers in an effort to influence the direction taken by various governing boards and regulatory agencies.

As a lifelong student of public policy and as an observer of the political environment of South Carolina, I have to opine that we are coming upon a very definitive moment in our history.  In short, Myrtle Beach, the Grand Strand and Horry County are at a fork in the road.  Which direction we take will determine the type of community we have for generations to come.  It also will determine how many of us will make a living and support our families.

The Fork in the Road is represented by two extremes.  The fork to the left is one that the direction is dictated by those in power and positions of influence who would have Horry County become ultimately a ‘live-in theme park’.  This option would be marked by a continuation of the tremendous building boom of late.  Pine trees would continue to fall in record numbers.  Our beautiful natural settings would give way to additional growth as our rivers would one day resemble the current ocean front.

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North Myrtle Beach and Tourism

February 14, 2018 4:15 AM
North Myrtle Beach and Tourism

The beaches and the upcoming Tourism Development Fee referendum in North Myrtle Beach have hit the pages of local media recently.

The beaches must be protected from the potential dangers of offshore drilling and they must be routinely renourished in order to keep tourism viable in the city, according to recent articles.

Many arguments against the TDF were enumerated in a recent op-ed by a North Myrtle Beach resident. Unfortunately, the writer was arguing against the example of how Myrtle Beach has chosen to implement the TDF rather than how it can be positively applied in North Myrtle Beach.

There is no question that tourism is the lifeblood of all the coastal communities along the Grand Strand. In many ways, North Myrtle Beach has set an example that the others should strive to follow.

The business community has done a good job of advertising with its own dollars, promoting the North Myrtle Beach brand as a safe, clean, family friendly location.

The city has added to this effort by providing quality public safety services, stormwater outfalls to keep bacteria levels near the beaches low and other infrastructure that benefits both local citizens and tourists alike.

Properly used, the TDF, if approved, could be used to supplement these private and public efforts to keep the city competitive in the family friendly tourism market.

According to state law, from the second year onward, the TDF revenues can be split 80% for out of area tourism marketing and 20% to the city for property tax relief and/or tourism related public safety, infrastructure and other similar projects. The decision on the split and how the city portion is spent rests solely with the city council.

It was proposed in the above mentioned op-ed that it would be nice to be able to apply all of the revenue from the one percent fee totally to public safety, infrastructure and the like.

In fact, this was attempted by a bill submitted by Sen. Greg Hembree last year (S.426). Called the Municipal Tax Relief Act, this bill proposed a one-cent sales tax on all taxable purchases in the city that would go to city coffers to offset some of the demands on property tax revenues.

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Heroin Epidemic Raises Awareness of Community Problems

August 19, 2016 8:57 AM
Heroin Epidemic Raises Awareness of Community Problems

The heroin epidemic in Horry County has reached proportions that seems to finally have spurred local government agencies to begin addressing violence and other problems throughout Horry County.

Six months ago, community activists Bennie Swans, Jon Bonsignor and Tim McCray approached Myrtle Beach City Council for help in addressing violence in the community.

They were essentially turned away with Mayor John Rhodes giving his impression of a Donald Trump style ‘gotcha’, blaming the community for the problem, attacking the activists and claiming the focus on community violence would hurt tourism.

The three got a better reception at the Horry County Council level with the establishment of a Community Violence Subcommittee formed to investigate the problem and make a report including recommendations for ways to counter the rising problems of violent crime and drugs in the communities.

To date, that committee has floundered by becoming involved in a comparison study of minutiae related to Horry County and counties in other states, but, at least, it is doing something and, hopefully, will eventually find its way.

Tuesday night, the City of Myrtle Beach hosted an overflow crowd to a community meeting on the heroin epidemic at the Base Recreation Center near Market Common.

By all reports, the meeting was a good one. One could argue it was six months late, but at least a positive acknowledgement that there is a problem and it is going to take the entire community – citizens, community activists, law enforcement and other government agencies, the schools and various non-profits – working together to address the problem.

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Community Violence Meetings Next Week

August 8, 2016 5:29 AM
Community Violence Meetings Next Week

Horry County’s Community Violence Subcommittee is scheduled to meet again next week, hopefully to move forward on a plan to address crime problems in neighborhoods.

For its first four months of existence, the subcommittee has been stuck on compiling statistics comparing Horry County to counties in neighboring states.

I suppose that’s an approach. In the meantime, Horry County is experiencing approximately 20 deaths per month from heroin overdoses, according to local media reports, and violent crimes are on the rise.

All of the violence in our local communities can’t be tied directly to an increasing heroin epidemic that officials are beginning to acknowledge exists in Horry County. Poverty and lack of opportunities to rise above it play their parts also.

Interestingly, the Myrtle Beach Police Department is hosting a forum called “Facing the Heroin Epidemic Head On” at the Recreation Center on the former Air Force Base Tuesday August 16th beginning at 6:30 p.m.

When local community activists went before Myrtle Beach City Council nearly six months ago asking for help in combating community violence, Mayor John Rhodes blamed the activists for the problems and said crime was decreasing in Myrtle Beach.

The activists were also told they were ‘hurting tourism’ by focusing on community violence problems.

A raging heroin epidemic will hurt tourism a lot more. Maybe that’s why the Myrtle Beach forum will address the problem next week.

While local governments have begun to address the community violence problem, at least acknowledging it exists, a local group of pastors has been holding meetings in various communities around the county. This seems to be the most intelligent approach. It does seem logical to learn about community violence problems from those most affected by them.

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Mustang Week 2014 Mayhem

July 21, 2014 7:15 AM
Mustang Week 2014 Mayhem

Another popular rally, Mustang Week in Horry County, has come firmly on the radar of Horry County officials after actions associated with the 2014 gathering.

There were reportedly over 2,500 cars and their owners in the Horry County last week celebrating that most American of automobiles, the Ford Mustang.

However, with popularity of social media and the apparent desire of a number of drivers for their 15 seconds of fame, the event is now under scrutiny by the Horry County Public Safety Committee.

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Horry County Nixes Reality Show

October 6, 2013 8:00 PM
Horry County Nixes Reality Show

According to the latest information from inside Horry County Government, a reality show looking to film during a bike rally won’t become a reality in Horry County.

A production team from PSG Films, the group that films “Alaska State Troopers”, initially got approval to ride along with Horry County police during last week’s fall bike rally.

However, there was not enough time to sell sponsorships, so planning moved to the 2014 spring rally.

Then some Horry County officials not necessarily sympathetic to bike rallies heard about the plans. You know, ‘Take Back May’ and all that.

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Myrtle Beach Redux

September 9, 2013 9:00 AM
Myrtle Beach Redux

Filing for the November 2013 Myrtle Beach city elections closed Friday September 6th and it looks like four more years of same old, same old in city politics.

That means most of the political issues, and all of the important ones, will be decided in the Dunes Club card room before they are ever discussed in city hall.

Three candidates, Bill Howard, Jerry Fout and Robert Palmer, filed to run against Mayor John Rhodes, which effectively means Rhodes will be easily re-elected because the north end will vote in a block for him and the three challengers will split whatever may come from the forgotten remainder of the city.

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