HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A new paintball and airsoft facility will make its way to the Myrtle Beach area this year after Horry County Council members gave the final approval for a rezoning request on Tuesday.
Black Ops Paintball is a North Carolina-based business expanding its facilities to the Socastee area. The company opened a pro-shop with paintball and airsoft accessories and equipment in Socastee off Highway 707 and across from Socastee High School in March 2017.
But soon, the company will bring a 13-acre paintball and airsoft field to the area, just about a mile away from the store and right off Highway 707.
Black Ops Paintball says they offer a safe, unique and exciting experience for all skill levels. The facility will have a speedball field, two hyperball fields and two military-style fields complete with props, sandbags and ammo crates.
Black Ops owner, Nate Gienger, is a retired Army Airborne infantryman who served in Iraq and founded the company in 2012. Gienger said the company plans to host parties and will cater to locals and tourists. He said they will be adding and changing the courses continuously so "regulars" can continue to get new experiences when they visit. Down the road, Gienger hopes to possibly hold national competitive events and national scenario events in Myrtle Beach, which would bring many visitors from all over the world.
He said he wants the facility to be up and running by the time school lets out and tourism season starts. Gienger hopes the soft opening will be sometime in the late-spring and the grand opening during the summer this year.
Sixth District Horry County Councilman, Cam Crawford, said that this process was fairly easy on their end, and is in favor of what Black Ops Paintball plans to bring to the area.
"During the course of its approval on council.. no opposition to that was ever voiced to me… I think that it's good and that it provides additional recreational activity for the surrounding area and I think it complements the 707 shop and as our population continues to grow… we will see more and more specialized businesses like this emerge, " said Crawford.
Gienger said people are eager to start playing and they have generated lots of interest on social media. He said they've been really surprised by the local support already and has seen an increase in off-season sales of paintball and airsoft equipment at the Black Ops Paintball store in Myrtle Beach.
Crawford said the south end of Horry County is growing and he hopes it continues.
"I hope that the area will continue to see greater economic activity and of course open space is always good. So, you know additional planning for parks I think will benefit the community," said Crawford.
Gienger said the company is meeting on Thursday to close on the property and expects to be fully open by this summer.