LEAD LETTER OF THE WEEK

Letter | Work together to make sure Myrtle Beach area is attractive, and litter free, for tourists

June 23, 2014 

BY CHRIS MOWDER — cmowder@thesunnews.com

Tourism is the biggest industry along the Grand Strand. When it’s good and we have many visitors, it benefits us all. So, why don’t we work harder to ensure that the Myrtle Beach area is visited over and over again by good tourists who bring their families and friends.

The improvements that have been made throughout the area are much appreciated. The ride on Ocean Boulevard is now lovely. The road work that is being done is slow but it will make for smoother commutes down the line.

We need to ensure that the entrances to Myrtle Beach from all directions are attractive, clean and manicured, litter-free and welcoming. The budgets of each Grand Strand community must provide for this. Many others have suggested the use of inmates to help in the cleanup. Surely there are those who would want to do this to earn some spending money. It works in other states including our neighbor, North Carolina. Also, why not promote “Adopt a Highway” sponsors to clean up areas.

The plantings along U.S. 501 were a nice addition but they need to be tended regularly. The median blocks need weeding and perhaps a coat of paint on a regular basis. It pleases me to ride north on U.S. 17 from Pawley Island because it’s classy and you witness the pride of the communities along the way. The same is true when arriving from North Carolina into North Myrtle Beach. Yet most vacationers arrive via 501 where they sit for a long time in gridlock only to see long billowing weeds and cigarette butts. Carolina Forest Boulevard hasn’t been cut yet this year and it’s another neglected venue, highly used, and there’s so much trash dropped. Litter is such a disgrace.

Appearances aren’t just what we see but the whole package of a resort town. This includes the services that are offered to tourists, the entertainment venues and the safety factor to attract people to a safe, fun-filled, beautiful beach area. We’ve taken away the tents from the beach which will have a negative impact on many. The sad fiasco over Memorial Day has rained down such negativity that some will not come again and some won’t come at all.

Surely, the Atlantic Beach Bikefest has to be contained and managed differently. Atlantic Beach reported no major problems – it was the overflow to all the other areas that was the problem. Bringing in more police will help but they come at a financial cost that diminishes the value of the event. And why should more police be necessary beyond the need for crowd control.

Perhaps it could be downsized and scheduled earlier or later in the season. It impedes other visitors from coming as well as our families who would like to share the holiday with us. Most residents wisely keep out of the way of the crowds and the accompanying recklessness as it isn’t easy to get to town, an event or even to the beach.

We do need the tourists and their dollars; let’s do it for them and ultimately for ourselves.

The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.

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