HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Right now, the Horry County Park & Open Space Plan is being re-worked to meet the needs of our growing community. Community developers said Horry County's population increased by 100,000 people in the last several years.
It's a change they underestimated with the initial parks and recreation plan. So, now they're going back to the drawing board.
During a meeting Tuesday, the Park and Open Space board will discuss the projects outlined in their plan. It shows the need for the development of four regional parks, two recreation centers, two community centers, seven community parks, five neighborhood parks, one boat landing, and four soft landings by 2040.
While there is a need to expand and improve existing recreation facilities, developers said with several new residential areas in the county, space is running out for new facilities listed in the plan.
Developers said working hand in hand with the County to identify land now is important as well as conserving areas for wild life and flood plain protection.
The price tag for the project is $110.5 million, making securing the land just one of its obstacles.
"Funding is going to be the greatest challenge for this. We have a lot of opportunities to partner with business communities, opportunities to work with federal and state grants to be able to fund some of the recreational improvements and we also have capital improvement funds that come through annually with council's budget," Horry County Community Development Planner Leigh Kane said.
The revised plan will go before county council in February, but developers want to hear from you first. Through four public meetings, you can learn more about the plan and make suggestions before everything is set in stone.
The board overseeing the park and open space plan created ideas based on results from a public survey and through multiple focus groups. In responses, people from Horry County collectively said they want to see current recreational facilities improve and expand while meeting the needs for all age groups.
They also want more access to natural resources and trails as well as athletic programs and classes. Beyond basic recreation facilities, the community also surveyed about having an aquatic center and ice rink, but the Parks and Open Space Board doesn't want to get ahead of themselves.
Board members wants to focus on areas like Aynor, Loris, Forestbrook, and the Burgess community currently without neighborhood amenities, pools, trails, playgrounds and rec centers.
They also want to make renovations to existing facilities like the Carolina Forest Recreation center and resurface basketball and tennis courts. Although developers heard from people through surveys, they want to give the public another chance to speak up.
"We want to go back out to the public to make sure that the information that they've provided us with that we accurately reflected their needs within the plan and If there's any revisions that need to happen to the plan between now and when the Parks and Open Space votes on it, that we can go ahead and account for that need," Kaine said.
Developers said now is the time when the heart of the decision making needs to happen.
Public meetings will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on the following dates:
- Monday, August 28, 2017 – South Strand Recreation Center (9650 Scipio Lane, Myrtle Beach, SC 29588)
- Tuesday, August 29, 2017 – North Strand Recreation Center (102 Wampee Rd/Hwy 57, Little River, SC 29566)
- Wednesday, August 30, 2017 – Carolina Forest Recreation Center (2254 Carolina Forest Blvd, Myrtle Beach, SC 29579)
- Thursday, August 31, 2017 – Horry County Government Building (1301 2nd Ave, Conway, SC 29526)