MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A Grand Strand ministry has to raise $10 million by Sunday to buy Freestyle Park.
As of Tuesday evening, according to the Abiding Village ministry, the non-profit had raised $128,219.82. The group needs roughly $9.8 million to reach its goal.
According to a news release from the ministry, Abiding Village is a local ministry of Christ United Methodist Church that wants to remove the rides and implement a three-phase plan for the park facilities.
Pastor of Christ United, Jeff Dunn, said on Tuesday, he is not giving up hope.
"We still believe that that may happen between now and Sunday, that that miracle may happen. And if it doesn't, another beautiful thing has already happened, and that is that the vision for Abiding Village and the impact of what that ministry has already been doing and will do in the future has just been taken to a whole different level," Dunn said.
The first phase of the plan has already been implemented as an urban arts center, currently located in Fantasy Harbor, which offers free classes to the public. The second phase will focus on new business development and the third will institute a tuition-free, Christ-centered education center.
"It is going to change the economy of Myrtle Beach," said Director of Abiding Village, Jessica Sagun. The plans for the second phase, the Entrepreneurial Development Center, will focus on businesses and boosting the economy. Their goal is to partner local business leaders with qualified and highly-motivated youth to develop and execute their own business plans. Then, the businesses will be launched in Abiding Village, bringing jobs to the area.
The third phase will implement a Christ-centered education complex, free to any student who wishes to attend.
The Freestyle Park property is said to be worth somewhere between $150 million and $180 million, but the ministry has been given the opportunity to buy it for just $10 million. She did mention the church has talked to the park's owners about using a portion of the vacant space to expand its ministry, however, she said she didn't know why the park's owners are now offering it to sell it at a fraction of its value.
Businesses nearby the vacant property seem to be on board with the plans. Frank Schauer is about to open a new business at the Waccamaw Pottery Building, across the street from the defunct Freestyle Music Park. Schauer said any new activity in the empty lot, especially if it's linked to a church group, will be a good thing.
"I would love to see a theme park or anything like, but anybody who gets in there is going to make it seem alive and get things going," Schauer said. "A church thing is going to be a positive thing. It's better than it just sitting there empty."
There's no telling if the transaction will go through. Abiding Village would need to raise the $10 million by Mother's Day. Then there's the challenge of raising the money to invest in the property.
"We need to raise more than $10 million. But a lot of it will hinge on who we can bring to the table in the process of that, and how we move forward," explained Sagun.
The ministry is focusing all of their energy into raising these funds and meeting the time goal. They are currently organizing fundraisers and have created a promotional video in hopes of attracting anyone willing to contribute.
If the group doesn't reach it's goal by Sunday, it will used the funds raised to go towards further funding the mission of the Abiding Village. The non-profit said it would honor any request should a donor wish to take back their donation.
For more information, visit abidingvillage.org or contact Jessica Sagun at 843-236-6201.
WMBF News reached out to the general manager of Freestyle Park, he refused to answer our questions.