North Myrtle Beach’s new Park and Sports Complex likely will get a collegiate cross country track and other new attractions as a result of a $300,000 donation from Frontier Communications.
In the past, the company has given $500,000 to the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp. for the International Technology and Aeronautics Park, and Frontier CEO Maggie Wilderotter said Friday that the contribution to North Myrtle Beach is spreading the company’s largesse to another part of the Grand Strand.
“We like to be small within big,” Wilderotter said during a Friday ceremony at which she presented North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley an oversized check for the new complex that not only serves the city’s recreation program but also as a sports tourism venue with its numerous ball and soccer fields.
She explained that the company operates in 28 states and it is a big company that puts its money in specific areas where it will make a significant impact.
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The city sees the complex as an economic development tool for tourism, and its completion earlier this year immediately drew regional, national and international sporting events.
One of the first events held at the new complex was this year’s International Quidditch Association World Cup tournament, which attracted participants from the U.S. and other countries.
Hatley didn’t want to be specific about the city’s plans for the money, other than to say that it would be spent at the park.
The current complex, which includes a jet pack facility and a treetop course of ropes, ziplines and suspended wooden bridges, occupies about 200 acres, but city spokesman Pat Dowling noted the city annexed 1,600 acres when it bought the land for the complex.
Besides park expansion, the area also will become home to a new shopping complex. No plans have been submitted for its development, but preliminary drawings show a big box store, smaller shops and restaurants on the site.
Wilderotter noted that Frontier’s employees, including those at its Myrtle Beach call center, are active in their communities and volunteer for a number of causes.
The call center, which has grown beyond what the company anticipated when it decided to put it here, recently added 50 new employees because of Frontier’s acquisition of AT&T’s communications network in Connecticut, Wilderotter said.
She said the company likes to give money that will enhance the quality of lives for their employees as well as others who call the area home.
The city’s exact plans for the money are expected to become clearer as specific proposals are brought before the City Council.
But Hatley promised one thing.
“It will be spent wisely,” she said.