Signs of change seen at old Freestyle Music Park

Updated: Oct. 9, 2019 at 11:28 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - The future of an old theme park that recently sold for $22 million less than it did a decade ago is getting closer to being known.

The more than 125 acres sitting off of George Bishop Parkway that looks like it could be from a post-apocalypse movie set was once the world’s first Rock 'n’ Roll theme park.

The Hard Rock Park opened in April 2008 but closed in 2009 due to financial issues. That’s when it was sold to FPI MB ENTERTAINMENT LLC who turned it into Freestyle Music Park.

But this didn’t last long either. In fact, it only stayed open for one season.

Fast forward to 2018 when John Rhodes, the former mayor of Myrtle Beach and owner of FTPP Bishop Parkway LLC, purchased the 125 acres of land for just $3.5 million.

“You know I’ve gambled on things all my life so why stop now,” Rhodes said regarding the purchase.

The piece of abandoned property has attracted crime over the last decade, with two arson investigations this year alone.

But now a sign sits by the road that reads: “Notice: Rezoning Public Hearing.”

Officials with Horry County Planning and Zoning said an application is in the works to request an amendment to the existing Planned Development District.

“When I first started working on it, the buildings were not in bad shape and we just couldn’t get together on pricing so I finally got them where I thought I could make the property worth the investment," Rhodes said.

Rhodes said the sign means a possible retail, restaurant or housing future.

Horry County planning officials told WMBF News that an application is in the works to change what the old Rock 'n' Roll theme park is zoned for.

Rhodes said he wants to bring the property back to life but promises it won’t be another amusement park.

The rezoning hearing for the park will happen on Nov. 7 at the next planning and zoning workshop.

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