Should the Surfside Beach Pier be rebuilt?

Should the Surfside Beach Pier be rebuilt?

SURSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Surfside Pier has been a huge attraction until it was destroyed by Hurricane Matthew.

Now, town leaders say there's no guarantee Surfside Pier will be rebuilt.

The Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce and Surfside town leaders recognize the pier is a major attraction.

And while locals will have their voices heard at several town meetings about whether it should be rebuilt or not, they decided to take a survey to visitors so they can have a say too.

In January, more than 300 people took the survey.

They stayed in three different Surfside lodging businesses that had previously registered their email addresses with the businesses.

According to the survey, 96.3 percent say they have visited the pier during their stay.

With 31.6 saying they spent $50 or more at that pier.

But one of the last questions that put a stamp on why the town shouldn't be slow at considering options was, do you think the pier should be rebuilt?

86 percent of surveyors say yes with the majority of others marking undecided.

The Surfside Beach Resort General Manager says while locals' opinions matter, visitors concerns also have a significant impact.

"The survey is pointed, visitors use the pier, visitors enjoy the pier it's an iconic part of the town of surfside beach, it's an important of not only our history but our future," Surfside Beach Resort GM Phil Vassar said.

During Hurricane Hugo, the pier was privately owned and insured which made it easier to rebuild.

But currently, the town of Surfside owns the pier -which makes it harder for the job to get done

In 2016, 6,000 guests visited the pier and that's just from documented hotel vouchers.

But that's why a survey was drawn up to see if rebuilding the pier affect people who visit.

Of the 362 surveyors, 25 percent of those people say they wouldn't come back if the pier wasn't rebuilt.

According to that number, it's a huge risk because that would mean the town wouldn't receive 25 percent of tax based income that's needed to run the town.

Vacation rentals would take a loss because that 25 percent of people who wouldn't return would affect the possibility of them eventually buying or renting a house or even retiring.

So WMBF asked the Surfside Beach Resort General Manager if the town decided not to rebuild the pier, what would be the next step to make sure people continue to come back year after year.

"It means were going to have to rebuild surfside in some way, rebuild around something else because this town is built around that pier and the ocean it serves," Vassar said.

Organizers of this survey say now that the survey has been completed and results are in, they hope the town of Surfside Beach will see the importance in the numbers.

WMBF also asked if it would be possible if any sort of tax would be placed on residents to help fund the pier if the town ran out of options.

We're told if it came down to it, funding would be placed on businesses. Something leaders say they are not in favor of.

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