Local leaders ready to work on Bikefest plans with Governor and AB mayor

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF)- Governor Haley has finally met with Atlantic Beach City officials about bikefest. She wants it gone, but the town is standing behind the event. The two sides met without representatives from Horry County or Myrtle Beach.

Mayor John Rhodes explains as much as he would have liked to attend, he feels it was something that needed to be between the Governor and Atlantic Beach before they could all meet.

But that doesn't mean Myrtle Beach or Horry County have been out of the loop or standing by the past two months.

"We don't think Bikefest should end," said Atlantic Beach Mayor Jake Evans. This is not the first time he has said they have no interest in ending the event, and it's not the first time the Governor has disputed it. 

"Yes you do need to stop Bikefest," Governor Haley said. "Yes you do have to stop the violence and everything's associated with it."

Despite the clear difference of opinion, both Mayor Jake Evans and Gov. Haley agree on one thing: making the event safer and finding a common ground.

Even though they did not get an invite, leaders from Myrtle Beach and Horry County say they have not been sitting quietly.

"So when we attack this problem, we're prepared and we do it in the best and efficient way we possibly can," said Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus. He said law enforcement and the task force have been meeting and preparing preliminary measures.

"Let them tell us what we need to do and let us as public officials help them set the policies so they can adhere to it," Lazarus said.

Within the next month there will be another Coastal Alliance meeting that Lazarus is hoping Mayor Jake Evans will attend. This would be the first time they all come together and take the ideas from their individual meetings, and put them up on the same drawing board.

As for Governor Haley, she hopes the group effort will make sense of the high statistics.

"This is about neighbors helping neighbors," she said. "When it seeps over into Myrtle Beach, when it seeps over into Horry County, when we are bringing in 273 officers and spending $1.3 million of tax dollars just for one weekend."

In September, local law enforcement will be hosting a summit, which will be another group discussion.

Chairman Lazarus expects that meeting will lead to some answers they have been waiting for.

On Wednesday, WMBF News spoke with Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce President Brad Dean.

Dean said he expects more money from this year's Accommodations Tax, than previous years. It's likely a portion of the money will help with additional law enforcement during Memorial Day weekend. The county and city will have to submit an application for the money to the state, according to Dean those looking to apply will need a detailed plan.

Dean said he expects those submitted plans to happen soon. The future plans are most likely going to come from the task forces, set up through the city and county after the violence, which occurred in Myrtle Beach this past Memorial Day weekend.

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