MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - You may have ideas that can improve our cities, and the Knights Cities Challenge is giving people the foundation needed to make a difference.
The Knights Foundation asks this question: what's your best idea to make your city more successful? They want the most innovative ideas that focus on talent, opportunity, and engagement.
Tom Warshauer, a community engagement manager in Charlotte, won the Knights Cities Challenge last year from an idea that he felt his city needed. Fostering conversation among strangers by installing Charlotte's signature porch swings in public spaces. He said that Knights cities challenge is great foundation to get your ideas heard.
"Their support really enables us to think and to test and to try new ideas that would be really challenging otherwise," said Warshauer.
More than 60 people from Myrtle Beach applied last year. Myrtle Beach city's planner Kelly Mezzapelle was a semi-finalist in the Knights cities challenge last year. She submitted a plan to keep cyclists and pedestrians safe while they travel around the city.
Mezzapelle's plan would provide a bicycle and pedestrian trail around the perimeter of the city...down Ocean's Blvd. through the Market Common and around the airport is just a small portion of the area the loop would cover. She said the city already a few of these trails and they would use the grant to essentially connect them. She also said that tourist need a path to see more iconic places in Myrtle Beach, but residents need it as well.
"We have an increasing number of people who commute to work on bicycle and they need a safe place to be," said Mezzapelle. "And some of our roadways aren't the safest for my bicyclists. A lot of our motorist will get frustrated with the bicyclist taking up the road. So they needed a place to be."
Mezzapelle said that their plan was a little ambitious, but they are thinking about re-entering with a plan that would only focus on certain parts of the loop like maybe here at market common. Mezzapelle's plan was just an idea that she had just driving around the city and she encourages residents of Myrtle Beach to apply with ideas to make the city better.
For more information on the Knights Foundation and how to apply for the Cities Challenge visit their website knightcities.org