Members of Myrtle Beach’s Downtown Redevelopment Corp. voted Wednesday to support the city in any actions taken to control the behavior of those on Ocean Boulevard during Memorial Day weekend – and “admonish” businesses that may have contributed to the issues.
DRC Chairman Chuck Martino said at least two businesses within boundaries the group represents turned their establishments into nightclubs on that weekend, even though they were not licensed to do so. The downtown area is defined as the area from Sixth Avenue South to 16th Avenue North, from the Atlantic Ocean to Oak Street and Broadway Street.
“I’m saddened that we had some businesses downtown that contributed to the issues downtown,” Martino said. He said he did not want to publicly name the businesses.
Martino said the offending businesses got people “liquored up” and excited a crowed that was already in an excited situation. He asked the board for permission for him and DRC Executive Director David Sebok to talk to the business owners and express their disappointment.
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“Don’t turn themselves into nightclubs for one weekend just to excite people for profit,” he said. “I’m going to ask businesses in the DRC area to not incite the crowds and not add to anything that would fuel problems on the boulevard.”
DRC member David Stradinger said he and his wife drove their convertible down Ocean Boulevard on Sunday night and felt the behavior was “out of hand” from one end of the beach to the other.
There were eight confirmed shootings in Myrtle Beach during Memorial Day weekend this year, including one Saturday night incident that left three dead and one injured. Six people were injured in four other shootings.
Thousands of people travel to the Grand Strand during that weekend to participate in Atlantic Beach Bikefest and Myrtle Beach’s Military Appreciation Days.
Area law enforcement officers and attorneys have started meeting in tasks forces created as the request of the Coastal Alliance to see what steps can be taken to get things under control.
Stradinger said the DRC should be behind whatever choices the city makes to improve behavior during Memorial Day weekend.
DRC co-chairman Debby Brooks said businesses needed to know that it’s not OK to contribute to the problems.
“We’ve worked too hard and our businesses have worked to hard” to redevelop the area, she said.