City to discuss opening Harrelson Blvd to businesses

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Harrelson Boulevard brings tourists in and out of the Grand Strand from where it sits on the airport's terminal entrance, and now the City of Myrtle Beach is preparing to open the highway up to retailers.

Horry County has big plans for Harrelson Boulevard but they can't officially go anywhere until the City of Myrtle Beach puts it's stamp of approval on the project. And the idea is already catching on.

There are now requests from private investors for commercial businesses to be able to open up along Harrelson Boulevard. Those ideas are up for discussion in a city council meeting Tuesday afternoon.

People who live in Myrtle Beach and those who come to visit say this is something the county and city should agree on.

"Because it's going to help the economy," said Greg Hiatt, who lives in Myrtle Beach. "And people who are coming here as tourists, they're used to seeing things like that around the airport."

"When you're flying in and landing, it's nice if you're coming in late," said Doreen Klose. "You haven't eaten. Of course the price of food on a plane is astronomical."

Some of these changes could bring more than just places to spend money here along Harrelson, but also places for you to make money. The plan is to add more manufacturing companies that would bring in bigger job opportunities for our area.

WMBF News talked with Brad Lofton with the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation, and he says Harrelson would be an attractive area for companies. Plus, the fact we're already seeing a german-based manufacturing company building off of Harrelson right now is a good sign that more could come.

But we also have the ITAP Business Park just a few miles away, which the city spent more than a million dollars to build, and we're still waiting for a company to move in and take over the space. Some taxpayers like Hiatt say they still don't mind starting up new areas for more companies to come in, because any chance that it could bring in more jobs to our area is a good chance.

"The general consensus is that there's not a lot of jobs for students here, graduates of Myrtle Beach," said Hiatt. "Even though we're a tourist mecca, but anytime you can bring in more manufacturing jobs, it's going to increase the possibility for people to have careers."

WMBF News reached out to city and county officials, and those with the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation about the project, and was told that there are no official plans for a specific company to move in. The goal is to have the area ready "just in case".

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