Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce confronts Bikefest

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Since Memorial Day, Bikefest has been the constant topic of conversation between local, county, and state government. Now a new group is talking solutions.

Usually the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is all about promoting Myrtle Beach while bringing and connecting people to the area. President Brad Dean feels they had to get involved in the Bike Fest discussion, and they could not promote the area if it was not safe.

Dean says any positive message they put out there would be drowned out by the negativity. The Chamber has suggested taking out money allotted for promotions and putting it towards law enforcement.

Dean believes any real solution involves adding more law enforcement and the Chamber wants to help.

"We're taking the money question off the table and saying: take some money out of promotion to help protect our community," he said.

However, some business owners do not want to see Bike Fest go because of the nature of how business is in Myrtle Beach.

"We're working off six months of major income, and the other six months you're pretty much surviving to keep the doors open," explained Andy Hart, Owner of Green Grubbin.

Dean understands how businesses feel, but calls for them to figure out new ways to generate money.

"Our view is simple: if your business model is dependant on an out of control event that overwhelms our community, you need a new business model," he said.

Hart also wants to see the violence end, but does not want to see the crowds go with it.

"March and April have the good spring breaks, but May is pretty dry except for Memorial Day weekend, so those last ten days of May can really pull you out of the gutter," Hart said.

Dean believes things need to change.

"We simply have to do something different.  We need help. We need more law enforcement. And its going to take everybody working together including the business community."

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