MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The city of Myrtle Beach will have a new mayor for the new year.
Mayor-elect Brenda Bethune will be sworn into office on Jan. 9. One of her goals is improving public safety, saying the city council must stay on top of combating crime.
"Our new chief, Amy Prock, has done an amazing job with her team developing a plan," Bethune said. "We have the same issues every other city has, especially a growing city, and I think with the new step plan we will see a decrease in a lot of our crime and a lot more proactive response from our police department."
Another challenge Bethune foresees for her first term in office is the impact of social media.
"Well one thing I learned very quickly as a first campaigner is that social media plays a huge role in people's perception and it was shocking to me how many people actually get their news and information from social media when it may not always be true," she said. "It can be good but it can also be very detrimental because it can paint our community and city in a very negative way. Our main industry is tourism, so when social media attacks who Myrtle Beach is as a brand, that can hurt our entire economy. So we have to do more to be more proactive about that and protect what we have and that's something I think will be a major issue we have to address and always be tackling in the right way."
Another issue Bethune plans to take care of is a passion of hers.
"For me personally, it's looking at our homeless community," she said. "I really have a passion for what's going on and how can we do more to help them and find out what their individual needs are. I think its easy to lump them altogether and they do have different issues and there's more that we can do to find out what those different needs are try to reach them that way."
Bethune believes Myrtle Beach is on the cusp of a big boom.
"I don't just mean with new hotels and new things on the boulevard. I think we will see some really exciting things happen," she said.
Bethune hopes the public will embrace the new council and give them the chance to develop relationships and work together.
"I hope people don't expect us on day one to have all the answers and just be realistic about the expectations that people have of council and what our role is and responsibilities are," she said.
According to Bethune, one of the responsibilities of council is to get to work right away with the Superblock area since the renovations are still on hold.
"I don't think we know yet, because officially we aren't a new council yet until Jan. 9, because it's very important we look at all the different revenue streams and look at our budget very carefully and prioritize what needs to be done," she said. "So I really can't answer the question about where the funding for a library or children's museum will come from because we don't even know if those plans will still be in place."
Bethune is hopeful the city can find a home for a children's museum in the Superblock.
"They can play a huge role in downtown development because people don't really understand what a children's museum really is and tourists do go to them," she said. "It's a huge tourist attraction."
As far as the next big announcement, Bethune expects that residents will hear it very soon.
"I'm going to leave you with a New Year's teaser that in 2018 you will hear exciting things that are going to be coming," she said.