Horry County, Horry Electric considers idea of building shooting range, equestrian, event space

Horry County, Horry Electric considers idea of building shooting range, equestrian, event space

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The idea to build a gun range in Horry County might see new light.

The idea was shut down last year after concerns about it being too close to homes.

Now a local power company and the county are are talking about the possibility of a project that, addition to a lot of other things, could include a gun range.

It's all in the preliminary stages, but Horry Electric and the county are in talks to build a recreation and community needs type of facility.

The shooting range would be located in this central location of Horry County.

First, Horry Electric took their ideas to the county and wanted to add a place to be used like the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, but in Horry County.

The Co-Op says there's not one publicly used facility in the county to serve crowds of people whether it be for large meetings or events.

They believe this facility will serve that purpose.

It also could include an equestrian site similar to the one in Lumberton, but bigger.

And a shooting range is also an option for the site.

"We're supportive of any activity that will provide a location in Horry County that will be easily accessible to folks to take advantage of," Horry Electric Spokesperson Penelope Hinson.

"We know that they're talking about a lot of different things including the equestrian center and the firing range as well."

There's a lot of people who live, work, and play in Horry County, but leaders say a lot of entertainment venues for those who live inland are not convenient.

So, Horry Electric and the county are teaming up on discussions that will hopefully lead to creating something unique and profitable.

These new developments will boost the economy in the county by bringing in jobs and tourists.

Horry Electric conducted a survey of our members to find out why they didn't attend the annual meeting after we failed to meet the quorum requirement several years ago. Location was one of the issues.  We learned that members wanted a more convenient location in the county, because Myrtle Beach was considered 'too far'. A more convenient, more central location was something they hoped we would consider.

So, that's why Horry Electric is excited about being a part of discussions with the county for a centralized site that could be used for a variety of purposes.

A lot of people are excited about what could potentially be in the future for Horry County.

Especially since leaders have the goal of making it easily accessible for everyone in Horry County.

"We know there's a need in the county for a large facility that will provide a variety of options for groups to come in and be convenient not just for locals but for other groups to come in," Hinson said.

With these new development ideas, it did lead WMBF News to question why Horry Electric wanted to join in with the county:

 Horry Electric Spokesperson Penelope Hinson told us the economic development potential and the impact this project could have on everyone in the county is the co-op's primary focus. She also shared that electric cooperatives and other utilities in South Carolina can help with such projects through funds to provide infrastructure improvements to economic development projects.

The email from Hinson stated:

"It part of the Rural Development Act.  Enacted in South Carolina in 1996.

The provisions of the Rural Development Act provides electric cooperatives and other utilities with the opportunity to apply for a credit against their license tax liability for amounts paid in cash to provide infrastructure improvements to economic development projects.   The funds can be used in a variety of ways, including the construction of speculative buildings and the purchase of land by the county or a city within the county for an industrial park.

The construction of roads within an industrial park or to an industry; the construction of water and/or sewer lines to an industrial park; installation and improvement of water and pump systems to an industry and even the construction of turning lanes and paving a dirt road to an industrial park are among the projects for which electric cooperatives have utilized RDA funds.

"Bottom line, we have about $400,000 per year that could either be sent to the State Tax Commission in Columbia or be kept it in Horry County, we think it's much better to keep it here to help with our local economy and invest in the economic development opportunities for our community," Hinson said."

The project being considered by Horry County is an economic development opportunity for Horry County and we are excited about the possibilities.

A site is not chosen but once one is designs will be discussed.

Horry County will be responsible for owning and operating the site.

There's no word on where the funds for construction will come from at this time.

It's all just an idea at this point.

Right now there's no timeline for this project.

And as for where it will be, leaders would only say in a central location.

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