Grand Strand officials say they’re ready to go into Memorial Day weekend with a plan to get control of traffic and crime that has occurred in the past.
“Good to go” was the theme of a task force meeting Wednesday of Grand Strand administrators and local and state law enforcement.
“A month from now, it’s on,” said Director of Horry County Emergency Management Randy Webster, who facilitated the task force meetings held across the county since last fall, thanking all in attendance for working well together. “It’s incredible the amount of time we’ve done with this to make [the weekend safe].”
Local officials have been working to get control of lawlessness during Memorial Day weekend, which turned deadly last year.
Three people died and seven were injured in eight shootings on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach during Memorial Day weekend when tens of thousands of people travel to the area for a three-day weekend at the beach or to take part in festivals such as the Atlantic Beach Bikefest.
Since the group’s first meeting at the Myrtle Beach General Aviation Terminal in October, officials have stressed the importance of working together and sharing a uniform message: have a good time when you come to the Grand Strand, but make sure to obey the laws.
Back at the General Aviation Terminal on Wednesday, the final meeting before the plans they’ve been working on since the fall will go into effect, officials said they felt confident that this year will be better controlled than last year.
Those plans include:
▪ Establishing a 23-mile loop aimed at keeping traffic moving. The loop routes drivers from 29th Avenue North on Ocean Boulevard south and around to Kings Highway, north to Harrelson Boulevard – which turns into George Bishop Parkway – west to Waccamaw Boulevard, which runs next to U.S. Highway 501, onto S.C. 31 heading north to Grissom Parkway south, then onto U.S. 17 Bypass and down 29th Avenue North.
▪ Agreeing upon and finalizing mutual aide agreements between outside law enforcement jurisdictions and Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach and Surfside Beach.
▪ Establishing centralized check-in at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center for officers to be briefed on their assignment for the weekend and some will receive lodging information for the weekend.
▪ Establishing command centers in Cherry Grove, at Rose’s Shopping Center in North Myrtle Beach, at the Myrtle Beach Police Annex on the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, at the South Strand Recreation Center and at Magnolia Plaza Shopping Center in Restaurant Row.
▪ Staging ambulances at various “strategic locations” throughout the Grand Strand so crews can respond to emergencies quickly.
▪ Coordinating community outreach to deliver a unified message so as many residents and tourists know what to expect on Memorial Day weekend. Outreach and education has been and continues to be done through in person meetings, websites, Facebook and Twitter.
Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or on Twitter @TSN_mprabhu.