HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A proposed outdoor entertainment development and RV park is back on the table at the former Black Bear Golf Club in Longs that will bring in more jobs to the area. A "destination recreation" complex is what developers are calling this proposed project, and lots of ideas are already brewing for this nearly 200 acre complex off S.C. 9. Developers say it's not your typical go-kart track and water park. In fact, they say they're taking it to the next level and it will be something the area has never seen before.
The president of Venture Engineering and one of the developers of the project, Steve Powell, estimates about $10 million will go into this project.
Powell said they plan to have two go kart tracks nearly a mile long with carts that could reach speeds from 45 to 70 miles-per-hour. Carts will also be equipped with live-streaming cameras so friends and family of drivers can follow along the track.
"We will eventually have what's called an "arrive and drive course" where if you want to bring some friends out and race, you could come out and there's always going to be a track open during our operating hours. Our second course will be the membership/professional course. So, if we had an invitational and we had 15 NASCAR drivers or semi-professional drivers coming in, then they would be on the professional course," said Powell.
As for the water park, Powell said it would be beach style with water slides that would be the first of its kind in the southeast.
"We'll have the first launch slides in the southeast. It's relatively a new thing - they have one in Texas and one going in Arizona and a few other places. But it's a slide where you get up to about a 35 to 40 mile per hour speed and when you get to the bottom of the slide… it goes back up and it shoots you up into the air about 25 - 30 feet, and riders do backflips and all types of things on the slide. Again. it's for a little bit older adventurers demographics group," said Powell.
Developers hope the track will be a place where NASCAR fans can learn and practice, and professional drivers can host tournaments.
"Well actually if you are a NASCAR fan and you see these drivers coming on scene in NASCAR competing favorably in races and they're not even 25-years old-yet. They develop their skills as racers in karting, and in most cases, Danika Patrick started out in karting when she was a teen or younger. So, karting is kind of the precursor to racing and a lot of NASCAR drivers spend their spare time racing in carts. Same skill set necessary, actually might take a little bit more skill in some cases," said Powell.
Of course, with every major project comes some challenges. Powell said part of the site is marked a flood zone. Therefore, developers have to keep that in mind when designing the plan and permitting each phase. A 10 foot berm is in the plans to border the property near the go-karts and ATV tracks to block noise for surrounding residents.
"We put that on the plan very first thing, recognizing that was something we'd need to do to be compatible with the neighborhood. That also serves as a security feature. Unless you have one of those big 4 wheelers riding out there, it would be hard to get off of that 10 foot burn. So, we're going to try to be as compatible as we can and we think the businesses out there will benefit from this project," said Powell.
Developers hope to close the sale by this fall and begin construction, with the residential homes as the first phase. Some of the attractions are expected to open by the summer of 2020 at the earliest.