Update August 29th: An email from Myrtle Beach Public information officer today reads: For the record, Ground Zero appears to welcome everyone to its youth ministry. See Stephanie Sebring’s comments in the Sun News that they serve teens who identify as LGBTQ+. We aren’t aware of any issues and have no plans to alter the existing landlord-tenant relationship with Ground Zero. We certainly aren’t going to tell a religious organization what to believe. Ground Zero did a wonderful job of renovating the former Rivoli Theatre. Its investment in the city’s building is to the public’s benefit. Mark Kruea, City of Myrtle Beach
Horry County School Board Chairman David Cox told attendants last night that he witnessed the largest gathering at a school board meeting in some time.
The auditorium was completely packed, as well as, the overflow auditorium.
The ACLU and the gay community were expected to speak at the school board meeting. Both groups chose not to show.
School Board Chairman David Cox informed MyrtleBeachSC News, after the meeting, that he was surprised neither group spoke.
Residents were there to show support for a Myrtle Beach ministry, located in downtown Myrtle Beach, called Ground Zero.
Calls sent out to activists groups
MyrtleBeachSC News later learned, from a source close to Myrtle Beach City Government, that calls were sent out asking activists to “stand down.”
EMAIL ALREADY SENT TO GROUND ZERO from Myrtle Beach Middle School
An email from Jessica Grimes – Family School Facilitator of Myrtle Beach Middle School was sent to Ground Zero informing the group they would be dismissed from all activities at Myrtle Beach Middle School including “meet me at the pole”.
Grimes works for Dr. Janice Christy, the principal of Myrtle Beach Middle School. MyrtleBeachSC News has FOIAd all communications between the middle school and Ground Zero.
WHY IT MATTERS
MyrtleBeachSC News also FOIAd the lease between Ground Zero and the City of Myrtle Beach.
A key provision in the lease states: If tenant ceases to use the premises primarily as a functioning teen club and venue for faith based programming of a general interest to the youth of Horry County, Landlord [City of Myrtle Beach] may terminate this lease upon ninety (90) days written notice of its intent to do so.
The language is ambiguously crafted, but losing access to Myrtle Beach Middle School puts the ministry in jeopardy with its lease.
RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT MYRTLE BEACH CITY PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER’S STATEMENTS
This provision in the lease brings into question statements made by Mark Kruea, City of Myrtle Beach Public Information Officer.
On August 22nd, City spokesperson Mark Kruea told local WBTW news that the city was not aware Ground Zero posted conservative [bible based] content on its website until last week. With this provision in the lease, how could Kruea and the city not know? Kruea’s statements were untrue.
The City of Myrtle Beach spent more than $30 million acquiring properties along 7th avenue around Ground Zero. Former Myrtle Beach City Manager John Pedersen approached Ground Zero, a few years past, asking the group if it would be willing to move if the city could find another location.
WAS LAST NIGHT A WIN?
A source close to City government told us Ground Zero had nothing to worry about, after what city officials witnessed last night at the Horry County School Board meeting.
Sadly, the email has been sent out by Myrtle Beach Middle School and key issues remain in flux at this time.
The lease was signed for 20 years on June 15, 2011. June 15, 2021 marked the guaranteed 10 years of the lease. The lease was renewed for 5 years in 2021. Will the lease be renewed in 2026? The city has not said.
Ground Zero is universally loved by the Horry County community.