New NMB Sports Park could mean new fire station could be on the way

(Source: City of North Myrtle Beach)
(Source: City of North Myrtle Beach)

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) North Myrtle Beach city staff are looking into building a new fire station. The main reason is because they're anticipating what's going to be built out by the new sports park off of Robert Edge Parkway. That is expected to only be the beginning, because the hope is that it will attract even more development in that area.

The city has mapped out big plans for the 1600 acres of land across from near Highway 31 and Robert Edge Parkway. It's making way for a new development boom-- with big box stores, restaurants, and housing subdivisions. But with all the growth, North Myrtle Beach has to make sure it'll be able to handle it all in case of an emergency.

One of the first things on the to do list is to see if there's room to have a new fire station.

"Eventually it's going to be a large part of the city of North Myrtle Beach," said Public Information Officer Pat Dowling. "Since it's now in the city limits. We're not looking to buy a fire station anytime soon, what we are looking at it to see if the landholders will work with the city."

The closest fire station now is right across from city hall, which is a few miles away. But those miles could make a big difference in case of an emergency. The city doesn't have any official plans to build a new and sixth city fire station right now, but people say it's necessary.

"Well I think they should plan for it because it's a necessity to the community," said North Myrtle Beach resident Louis Gowers.  "Any community that grows there. They need to have a firehouse within reasonable distance to support the people. "

But the question now is whether to wait and see if it actually is necessary, or to just go ahead and put in a new station. City staff is already looking for where it would be possible to put the firehouse. When it comes to putting the plans in place, some residents think the city should wait.

"Well I think they should do one thing at a time," said Amy Callahan. "Because the sports park I read it in the paper and it just looks huge. From the property that it has I think they should build it first and see what happens and see how it goes."

Since it's a project that comes with a big price tag, Dowling tells WMBF News it's something that will likely be put into the five year plan for the area. All plans have to be approved first by the city council before the project can move forward.

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