Community gets involved in Myrtle Beach spring cleaning

Community gets involved in Myrtle Beach spring cleaning

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Downtown Myrtle Beach is in need of some spring cleaning. Wednesday, city leaders want your help to make it all happen ahead of the summer season.

“The Big Sweep,” is a community clean-up effort pioneered by the City of Myrtle Beach and the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation. Native Sons, Walmart and Hammerhead Grill are also sponsors of the event. Wednesday teams picked up litter, spruced up landscaping, cleaned windows and even painted.

When it comes to the cleaning, volunteers were surprised by what they found, "Tires, recyclables, glass bottles, we found some hypodermic needles, We found a playpen of broken glass," said volunteer Joseph Riggs.

A focus is on a lot of the big public spaces in the city like the 5-Points area, Plyler Park, and the Boardwalk.

If you're doing your own spring cleaning, there will be two dumpsters in the downtown area all week for everyone to use.  Organizers say they were pleasantly surprised by the number of people who showed up. But the volunteers themselves say they were fulfilling their duty.

"We work in this community, we live in this community, and anything that we can do to give back to the community to improve it, to make it look better so that when people do visit, they may think 'Hey this is a great place to live, I might want to move here'," said Riggs.

Along with cleaning up the community, there will also be an opportunity for the city to educate local businesses, because starting December, strict rules will be enforced.

As the DRC and city move forward with their strategic plan for redevelopment they want to focus a strict effort regarding building and property code enforcement, for example: what store owners have in their windows, and their responsibility to clean up. Simply put, city leaders want everyone to take pride in their properties.

DRC leaders said police and fire representatives will be at the Big Sweep Wednesday to talk to businesses in the area about what's expected. The Big Sweep will be an opportunity for businesses owners to get their questions answered. The effort is to give all property owners time to repair and resolve any issues before the rules kick in, in December.

The overall goal is to improve curb appeal and make a good first impression on our visitors. The main reason is so people want to return to our area.

"I'm surprised by how many cigarette butts we found," said volunteer Brittney Baumgarten. "Because you can sit down in one place, and pick up a handful in one area, and then turn around and do a 180 and pick up a handful from that area. Move your feet and pick up another handful. There's so many. There's just so many."

One group joining in on The Big Sweep is the Oceanfront Merchants Association. The executive director Peggy Iverson said the experience visitors have right here can impact their return to the Grand Strand.

"Presentation's everything," Iverson said. "We want all these merchants and shop owners to keep in mind, what is that visitor looking at when they're walking past their front window and their front doors." That is why she supports the city's efforts Wednesday to spruce up the downtown. Moving forward, presentation is one focus OMA will continue. One effort she plans to push for, as new director, is beautification of the downtown area.

Another plan is to bring in more free events. These events, like St Patrick's Day celebration this past weekend, help bring visitors to the downtown area and spend in the local restaurants and stores.

One idea she discussed is a new event for the fall, shoulder season: Glory Days. It will feature a 50's theme, with shagging and a classic car shows.

Overall, her goal is to get more people involved in promoting these free events. She wants to rid OMA of the "Oceanfront Merchants" stigma, and get all Grand Strand businesses involved.

She said if businesses join, they'll help keep these events alive so people come into our area, and try everything around, creating a ripple effect.

"Our whole job with OMA is we're trying to put feet in the street so we can put dollars in the doors," said Iverson. "We want visitors to feel this is a safe and clean and family friendly environment for them to want to come down here."

In order to bring in these events, more funds are needed. The group plans to find creative ways to get funds, like hosting a boardwalk marketplace with craft and produce vendors. If you're interested in helping out OMA, or you have a business that wants to get involved, contact:

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