Horry County: Groups seek funding for projects, public safety

  • Wednesday, March 19, 2014

  • Updated Thursday, March 20, 2014 7:33 am

Representatives of the Garden City Beach Community Association set forth their case March 12 in the first round to determine what groups, organizations and Horry County agencies will receive a portion of the county’s allocation in fiscal 2015, based on additional tax collected on lodging in tourist areas for “heads in beds.”

Specifically, the association is seeking $82,350 for mowing and maintaining the median along N.C. 17, in the Garden City to the Georgetown County line and the N.C. 17 entry to the beach area.

“We pick up trash every day, 365 days a year,” explained Gairy Nichols, noting that the state would only mow the entry to the community four times a year and would not pick up trash before mowing.

“We came to you. The county gave us $76,000 to plant our medians. You folks made me promise that we would keep those medians clean, and so every year I have come to you. We have been given the contract to clean it.”

He noted that the beach association also cuts the median every week from April through September.

“The reason I like this is that it lasts 365 days a year. It’s not a festival, it’s not a one-time event.” Nichols said.

He explained that the request this year is much higher than last year because the county “spent about $100,000 for more plantings in the median, which forces the workers to mow around them.”

In addition, he said, that last year’s bid was low because two companies were competing against each other.

And, the bid request this year included sweeping the community’s sidewalks, which are below grade, and become covered with blowing sand. The contractor sweeps those sidewalks weekly.

It also seeks funds for the street lights within the community – a safety measure along the main roads and side streets. The request for $16,000 does not include the lighting for the new parking lot behind Sam’s Club, said Drew Streett, Garden City Beach Community Association chairman, because “we don’t own those lights, Horry County does.”

The Garden City Beach area also hopes to share in funds requested by Horry County for litter pickup, personal watercraft for the Beach Patrol, beach renourishment and a berm height study to provide additional sand for the area endangered by beach erosion.

Horry County Police Chief Saundra Rhodes explained that her department’s Beach Patrol, which serves the unincorporated areas of the county, must replace its personal watercraft.

“The life of these is about three years, and we’re well beyond that,” she said.

The salt air takes a toll on the watercraft used to rescue swimmers in distress, she explained.

“We’ve pieced together as best we could, but we absolutely need to replace these,” she said.

Others making requests for funds include the American Heart Association, Arcadian-Shore Drive Community Association, the Claire Chapin Epps Family YMCA, Horry County Museum, the Coastal Youth Ballet Theatre, Little River Chamber of Commerce, Long Bay Symphony, Myrtle Beach Family Campground Association, North Myrtle Beach Area Historical Museum, South Strand Campground Association, Palmetto Studios Arts Alliance and the South Strand Campground Association.

The committee will have second reading of the funding requests on March 26 and make its recommendations to County Council, which has final say in the fund allocations.

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