City council candidate: Brooks Myers looks to clean-up downtown; spark interest in art and aquaculture

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach City Council candidate Brooks Myers moved with his parents to Myrtle Beach from Maryland in high school.  He grew up in Pine Lakes, and graduated from Myrtle Beach High School.  He went on to attend Coastal Carolina University and graduate with a Bachelors of Independent Science and Business of Fine Arts Degree.  He went to graduate school at the University of South Carolina to get a masters in finance.  After moving from New York City from Myrtle Beach, he decided to come back home to Myrtle Beach.  Myers currently works at the Comfort Inn & Suites.

Myers said he wants to start forging relationships to bring in better business and culture.  He said the downtown arts community needs to be connected with Coastal Carolina University to make a more interested city.  "It worked for Charleston, why can't it work for us?" he said.

"I know Myrtle Beach and how great it can be as a family destination, and we have gotten away from that.  Myrtle Beach used to be fun.  Growing up, it was enjoyable...and that's because we had activities downtown.  We had the Myrtle Beach Pavilion.  We can make that happen again if we lease that property from Burroughs & Chapin and have temporary carnivals during the summer.  We can bring rides back downtown, that's going to sponsor more business for the surrounding area...and we're using that area responsibly...because in the city's ten year plan, there's no Family Kingdom anymore," Myers said as to why he should be elected.

Myers on redevelopment

Myers said he believes the streets of Myrtle Beach need to be cleaned up.  He'd like to see addicts and the homeless given more help if wanted.  He said motel owners need to take responsibility for crimes being committed inside their establishments, many of which are being driven by incredibly low rates.  To increase economy, he said he'd like the city to invest in the aquaculture business, and embrace the arts.

"We need to get the streets cleaned up.  We have a serious homelessness problem, a serious drug problem on our streets...that's really keeping, I think, the quality of life away from downtown Myrtle Beach.  People are nervous to go down there, they're fearful of some harm that might become of it.  So it all really start with policing, getting police on the back streets, the south end of Myrtle Beach, down into the historic district.  With that, we can really start to focus on redevelopment," Myers told WMBF News.

Related stances:

- wants to see small/incubator businesses appear

- renovate and occupy businesses without bulldozing

- clean streets

- invest in aquaculture

- bring in the arts; foster university arts partnerships

Myers on public safety

Myers said the city is already behind in policing, and we'll be farther behind by the time all 70 police positions are hired, seven years from now.  He said the city needs to do better about keeping police numbers better matched with residents.  He believes Myrtle Beach's problem will be repetitive, and if elected to council will encourage better community policing.  He wants to cut down on loitering and get help for the area's homeless population.  He also believes if motels and hotel owners take responsibility for crime happening in establishments, overall crime will be reduced.

"The most important thing is increasing the number of qualified candidates.  The only way we're going to do that is to put together an incentives package to draw these potential candidates to our area. We have to pay them more, we're below average in our current pay scale for our officers...we need to beef that up so we can get good candidates, and we can attract them in," Myers said.

Related stances:

- cut down loitering

- hotel/motel owners take responsibility for crime in establishments

- foster community policing

- quality of life policing

This is the fifth of WMBF News' profiles of Myrtle Beach City Council candidates. The series began Oct. 16, and will run nine days, with the last candidate being profiled Oct. 26.  WMBF News will interview each of the nine candidates in alphabetical order, and will ask the same three questions to each.  Those questions are about re-development, public safety and why he or she should be chosen for city council.  There are three seats open on council.  Councilman Wayne Gray did not file for this coming election.

Here are the air dates for each candidate:

Oct. 16: Ann Dunham

Oct. 17: Matthew Hardee

Oct. 18 Mike Hobeika

Oct. 19 Mike Lowder (incumbent)

Oct. 20 Brooks Myers

Oct. 23 Gregg Smith

Oct 24 Kevin VanWinkle

Oct 25 Jackie Vereen

Oct 26 Randall Wallace (incumbent)

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