Little River gets trashed following ShrimpFest

Little River gets trashed following ShrimpFest
LITTLE RIVER, SC (WMBF) - Little River resident Marcia Walker addressed the Horry County Council at a meeting Tuesday. Her concern surrounded the trash and litter that lined the road where the Little River ShrimpFest was held last weekend.

In addition to the community being upset about the debris following the chamber event, Walker suggested implementing a new traffic plan.

She recommends:

- leaving residential streets out of the traffic plan unless adequate parking is provided.

- additional trash cans with instructive signs at exits

- when someone applies for festival permit, should have to clean up

Councilman Harold Worley ensured Walker that the council was doing its best to tackle the issues of litter.

He promised the county will do better.

"Roadside trash is a big deal. Council is spending a lot of money, countywide, to tackle the issue," Worley assured.

Walker lives on Watson Avenue.

Watson Avenue is one of the side streets leading to the Shrimp Festival on Meneola Avenue. 

"We saw poop-filled baby diapers along the road. We saw Styrofoam cups and bowls, we saw plastic spoons, beer bottles, beer cans, and various paper trash as well," Marcia Lynn Walker explained.

The Little River Chamber of Commerce's Executive Director, Jennifer Walters, said she's aware of the issue, but believes the proper clean up measures were taken right after the festival as well.

"We had a clean-up day on Monday and we cleaned up the festival footprint even to the point of washing the streets," Walters said.

Walters explained the festival took six months of preparation, and cost about $70,000 altogether. She said $15,000 was spent on blockages, rope, and transportation.

One hundred and seventy vendors attended the festival.

According to Walters, each vendor broke down their stations before loading up their trucks and leaving. Then, everything rented, the stage equipment, chairs, tables, and more, were cleaned up.

However, on Watson Avenue, the Walkers questioned why the street was overlooked during the initial clean up.

"Well since they directed traffic, down this way, with signs on 17, they should have absolutely had this road on their radar," Walker stated.

Another neighbor, Rosa Stadick, walks her dog daily in the neighborhood and says the litter was nothing out of the ordinary.

"You'll see...a beer can here or there, or a Styrofoam cup or a cigarette box or butts," Stadick explained.

Stadick was actually impressed with the way traffic was directed. She said it was easier to get in and out of the neighborhood. 

Jennifer Walters says officers from both the Horry County Sheriff's Office and the Horry County Police Department were present throughout the festival and there were no reported problems of public intoxication.

Though portable toilets were set up, the Walkers say they saw things they wish they hadn't.

"There were several that were noticeably drunk and urinated as we were sitting on our front porch where we could watch them," Walker explained.

Walters says you can only expect there to be some issues with such large crowds. In total, the festival brought in 18,000 people and had more people on Saturday this year than both Saturday and Sunday of last year, marking a 94 percent increase in attendance. 

"We realize we kind of encroach on their quiet living during two weekends a year but this is a great way to show off Little River, many, many, people come to the festival for the event and don't realize what we have to offer and they'll come back on another day," Walters said.

Walters later sent a cleaning crew to pick up the final pieces of trash left on Watson Avenue and the other side streets in the area.

Cell phone video from Warren Walker showed one man picking up the trash around 4:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

Walters wanted to ensure the community the Chamber will now be cleaning up the surrounding side streets as part of the initial festival clean up process.

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