MYRTLE BEACH — A local resident possibly could choose the name of the planned indoor sports complex that is scheduled to open near the Myrtle Beach Convention Center as early as February 2015.
The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce will sponsor a contest that solicits potential names from the public to be added to a list from which the City Council will select. City Council will have the final word on the name of the estimated $12.4 million, 100,000-square-foot center.
Organizers say the contest is intended to get residents excited about the facility while conveying what the city hopes the vision will be.
“We want to get some interest among the locals and get them excited about the building,” said Mark Beale, sports sales manager with the chamber. “We want it to be a local that names it because they’re the ones who know the area.”
Assistant city manager John Pedersen told City Council Tuesday that possible names would be reviewed anonymously by a panel of local judges who will selected by the chamber.
It’s possible that the chamber might not recommend any names to the city. It’s also possible the City Council could choose a name not on the submitted list.
“I’d like to see it called Buddy Rogers and we could call it ‘The Buddy,’” Mayor John Rhodes said.
Rogers was a long-time sports coach at Myrtle Beach High School who was on the committee that created the Beach Ball Classic. Rhodes is executive director of the Beach Ball Classic.
Pedersen said city staff and the chamber also hoped the contest would help spread what he called the vision of the facility: “We want to be a national leader for youth amateur sports,” he said. “But we also want to have an emphasis on character development and sportsmanship.”
The facility also will serve as an educational center where Horry-Georgetown Technical College students can learn about sports management.
If City Council chooses a name from the contest entries, the winner would receive a yet-to-be-decided prize from the chamber and be invited as a VIP guest to all grand opening events.
The facility satisfies extended stipulations of a $7 million grant the city received in state funds in 2005 to purchase nearly 40 acres next to the convention center.
Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill in June that extends the initial timeframe for completion that was stipulated when the funds were granted from 10 years to 15 years, meaning the city would have until 2020 to complete the planned 100,000-square-foot expansion instead of 2015.
Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_MPrabhu.