MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Soon the Pelicans Ballpark may be home of more than just the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.
Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland, a company that operates the light show each year, wants to make it their home during the holidays, and officials say this agreement could help the stadium's bottom line year round.
Horry County and the City of Myrtle Beach used tax payer dollars to get the $12 million ballpark, but when it comes to keeping it up, they're on their own. That's why events like the light show help to keep the lights on and the stadium running.
Friday, Horry County will vote on signing a contract with an outside company that will pay to use the stadium during the holidays for the next five years. City and county officials hope they won't be the only ones, because the money helps keep it going. When events are held in the ballpark area, the rent money goes straight to an operating and maintenance account.
The ballpark has been standing in Myrtle Beach for about 15 years now, and the need for expensive repairs seem to keep popping up. To give you an idea-- just last year the city had to spend 700 thousand dollars to replace the drainage system.
So when outside groups and companies pay to rent the stadium, the extra cash helps out.
"It does," said Mark Kruea, with the city of Myrtle Beach. "It certainly costs a fair amount of money to operate a 55 hundred seat baseball stadium. So that money that comes from the rentals goes back to help take care of the maintenance and the repair items that just naturally crop up in a place that size."
The ballpark has been operating at a loss since it first opened, and the city and the county aren't scheduled to finish paying it off until 2019. Once city officials no longer have to sign off on that bill, then the tax dollars will go toward building another attraction to draw more people to our area.