HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A multi-million dollar proposal could significantly impact the heavily-congested Carolina Forest area.
Gander Mountain has proposed a $2.2 million bond to make improvements beyond its 13-acre tract of land that would benefit the Carolina Forest area: added roadways, along with water, sewer, storm drainage, underdrain, curbs and gutters, paving and sidewalk improvements. This proposal is being called the Carolina Forest Public Infrastructure Improvements.
In order to lay the groundwork, at Tuesday's Horry County Council Meeting Gander Mountain attorneys will ask for a bond from the County to help pay for it all. If the county decides to establish the Infrastructure Improvements, then that would allow the tax revenue to pay the bond instead of funding schools and other county issues.
Local workers and shoppers say whether or not these added improvements are approved, they are happy to have Gander Mountain as a new neighbor. "I think it's going to be a good opportunity," says Kara Doak, a server at Sam Snead's Oak Grill and Tavern. "More jobs down here rather than up north in North Myrtle or Broadway at the Beach. It's also going to be helpful for a lot of the golfer that are around."
One of the biggest added benefits to shoppers and drivers in Carolina Forest with the proposal, would be the improvements to area back roads. There are three roads the company is hoping to create or extend.
First, would be Glenbriar Drive. This will be a new road allowing you to get in and out of Gander Mountain off Highway 501. It will go all the way through the complex and end at Postal Way.
Second, Glenforest Road would be extended through Gander Mountain's property parallel to 501. It would extend to the traffic light at Factory Stores Boulevard, the edge of Tanger Outlet property.
Finally, the company plans to expend Postal Way up to the property line of the Tanger Outlets. The proposal explains this will be a catalyst for the development of the nearby wooded property as commercial areas. It will allow access to around 114 acres of property that, up until this point, has not been developed because of lack of access along with water and sewer lines.
According to census date, the population in Carolina Forest has increased more than 600 percent from 2000 to 2010. The proposal notes that while Carolina Forest has been very successful in developing commercial hubs, that success comes at the price of extreme traffic congestion at Carolina Forest Boulevard and Highway 501. Leaders with Gander Mountain say the proposed roads improvements will help relieve traffic on 501, help connect the smaller back roads, provide some back road short-cuts, and provide alternate routes for emergency crews. The proposal states this will promote convenience and safety.
Shoppers and workers in the area say these improvements are a long-time coming. "The connecting road I think is going to be great," says Doak. "If we have all the tourists that come in, 501 is always blocked up and backed up. So I think that's going to be a nice little escape route."
If council does not find any serious fault with the proposal, then it will go through the traditional three readings before being approved. If council members do find any issues, it is not certain whether or not Gander Mountain will continue construction on the added roadways, sidewalks, and other improvements.