April 10, 2013

Rides, games proposed for former Pavilion site

Rides and games could return to the old Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park site this summer if a proposal from a Florida company wins city approval.

Rides and games could return to the old Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park site this summer if a proposal from a Florida company wins city approval.

Representatives from Orlando-based Strates Shows submitted an application this week to the Special Events Technical Review Committee proposing a summer-long event that would feature rides, games and concessions from June 8 to Sept. 6.

The property has sat mostly vacant since the Pavilion was demolished by owners Burroughs & Chapin in 2006. The carnival is proposed to sit on a four-acre portion of the Pavilion grounds next to Adrenaline Adventures Zip Line, which opened on part of the site last April.

The application included a letter from Patrick Walsh, senior vice president with B&C, who said he has been negotiating with Strates Shows to bring the carnival to the Pavilion property.

“We would appreciate your consideration and support and allowing this attraction to take place on the aforementioned site for this summer,” he wrote in the letter.

In its application, Strates Shows said the carnival would operate from 10 a.m. to midnight. It was which days the carnival would operate. Representatives from Strates Shows were not available to comment as of press time.

Downtown Redevelopment Corp. Executive Director David Sebok said he believes some businesses will benefit from having the carnival nearby and others will view it as competition.

“It’s private property – Burroughs & Chapin,” he said. “They’re always looking for interim uses that would be family friendly and attract people to the downtown area.”

Sebok said it was hard to tell whether putting a carnival on the site of the former Pavilion Amusement Park would be accepted by customers.

“There is so much history and there is so much nostalgia – who knows how people are going to react?” he said, adding that it’s been nearly seven years since the Pavilion was torn down and many visitors may not have memories of the amusement park.

“I don’t think it should be looked at as replacing the Pavilion Amusement Park,” Sebok said. “It’s a temporary use. It’s not ultimately the best use of that very valuable property to have a carnival there three months out of the year.”

On Jan. 1, B&C reclaimed use of the Pavilion Parking Garage, located at the corner of Kings Highway and Ninth Avenue North. The DRC previously leased the garage from B&C. Strates listed use of the garage under the question concerning parking requirements on the city’s application.

In a November meeting of stakeholders discussing the Myrtle Beach boardwalk’s development and future, Steve Warner, senior vice president of capital strategies and investments for B&C, said the company is looking at taking 2.2 acres closest to the ocean and developing some type of attraction.

The company leases the 11 acres once occupied by the Pavilion.

“We’ll probably build something on the entertainment side,” Warner said.

He said nothing would happen for at least a few years and shared no details other than knowing the company is looking at putting something there.

The carnival would sit on the piece of property located across Ocean Boulevard.

Strates Shows is a family company founded in 1923, according to the company’s website. The show typically travels the country by train during a seven-month season, transporting about 400 employees and equipment with 61 rail cars and 34 trucks, according to the website.

According to their website, the Strates Shows is scheduled to appear in North Brunswick, N.J., as well as Middletown, Elmira, Hamburg and Syracuse, N.Y., during the timeframe proposed in the application with Myrtle Beach.

Representatives from the show presented their application at Wednesday’s Special Events Technical Review Committee meeting. Myrtle Beach fire Battalion Chief Bruce Arnel, who serves on the committee, said he did not attend Wednesday’s meeting, but expected the committee to discuss the event for the next few weeks before deciding if they would send it to the City Council for approval.

If approved, Strates Shows proposed to begin setting up as early as May 27.

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