NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - In just over a month, North Myrtle Beach city leaders have to tell the South Carolina Conservation Bank whether or not they will use a $510,000 grant to purchase Ingram Dunes.
Though many have expressed their beliefs on why the dunes need to remain as they are, Clarence Dove has lived across from the dunes for nearly 30 years and believes differently.
“The city to me would benefit so much greater to have 30 homes of residents on this property and people who are dedicated to the city rather than a few people who might want to drive by and go into a park where they may spend two or three hours,” Dove said.
Currently, city leaders are in negotiations with Ingram Dunes property owners to try and reach a deal in purchasing the property. The asking price is $3.3 million dollars but the city only has $1.1 million to offer, which a member of Preserve Ingram Dunes says is worth every penny.
“It’s almost like the land is so special it protects itself,” Damien Triouleyre, Coordinator Preserve Ingram Dunes said. It is the only land left in North Myrtle Beach East of the waterway.”
“If we do not step forward and purchase these dunes, it’s going to be an embarrassment for the city and the county,” Susan Platt, president of North Myrtle Beach historic preservation society said. “I truly feel that way for our city and our county because the state has said ‘We support you.’”
And Dove agrees this land is special. He says in the nearly 30 years he has lived across from the dunes, he has never seen the area flood.
"We are 2,500 feet above sea level right here on this street. Perfect place to have residential property. People could live here in happiness, peace."
Dove also said over the years, police have been called many times due to trash and appliances being dumped and transient people hiding within the dunes and living for an extended period of time.
“Three houses have been broken into and vandalized while people are away from people hiding back here," he said. "There are people who set up tents and cardboard houses back in the deep part of it.”
But overall, he says this is the best place to live in North Myrtle Beach and hopes more people are able to enjoy the area if the development occurs. He believes the development will not only build homes, but a larger sense of community.
“When people are proud of their neighborhood and the people who live in it, It makes for very good living,” Dove said. “And I hope to have many more years here, many more.”
The $510,000 grant awarded to the city to buy the 9.4-acres of the Ingram Dunes area has to be used by June 28, but the city has to make a deal with the property owners by May 1 in order to use it.