Group works to get Garden City channel dredged before it dries up

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Residents in the Garden City area are working to get a two-mile-long channel dredged.

Neighbors say unless action is taken soon, the channel will turn into a mud flat and become almost impossible to dredge.

"I think it needs to be done sooner or later, or we won't have any ocean access at all," said resident Tommy Watts.

According to Watts, as of right now, large boats cannot be parked at docks on the channel during low tide.

"A full moon low tide, when it's lower than normal you're in around a foot of water in some areas, maybe less," said Chris Lawhon, owner of the Marlin Quay Marina.

The channel spans from the Garden City Beach causeway to the Marlin Quay Marina. A group called Dredge SW, LLC was created to petition for the project.

According to the group, the project would cost around $7 million. Horry County's spokesperson said a special tax district would be formed to pay for that cost, but only residents who live right on the channel would see a tax increase.

"As (like) most other people in the area, we're concerned about what is the total cost going to be," said Watts.

Members of the group say they're working to find out exactly how much taxes would increase.

Then there is the impact on property values. Some say if the channel doesn't get dredged, property values could decrease as much as 40 percent.

"Right now the channel is so shallow that they can't use their docks because the boats will be sitting in mud in some of the different areas," Lawhon said. "So dredging it to make it deeper would allow them to have a boat at their dock and allow them to use it at different times. Having that deep-water dock is going to add value to your home."

Horry County's spokesperson said a tax referendum vote has not yet been scheduled, but it will most likely be voted on within the next few months.

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