February 25, 2017 – 11 a.m. OCEANFRONT BEACH ACCESS BASH
Locals say they should not be Paying The DRC For Beach Parking
MyrtleBeachSC.com spoke with residents of Carolina Forest about beach access parking fees that the city will begin charging March 1st. Last fall when county residents began to voice their concerns about the elimination of free beach access parking, a grassroots group representing their concerns was formed. The city of Myrtle Beach asked to be given more time to work on a compromise resolution. Appealing to the city council based on the fact that many locals moved to the area because of the access to city beaches, the residents stated they were willing to compromise, but asked that the city be willing to negotiate with them.
Over the past month, the residents learned that the terms for county residents such as those in Carolina Forest were going to be no different in cost and accessibility than any out-of-state visitor to the city. County residents we spoke with said they felt deceived by Myrtle Beach city officials. Not only were county residents angry over the lack of any true negotiation, but also frustrated that monies being charged to them for beach access were being used to fund the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation (DRC).
Residents city-wide and county-wide are planning a community picnic at the beach on 38th Avenue North in the Golden Mile at 11 a.m. this Saturday to protest what they call, “the greed of the DRC” and the treatment they say locals are getting from Myrtle Beach City Council and the Mayor. Some downtown merchants, whose businesses have been harassed by the DRC, are telling us they also plan to attend. The Golden Mile has been ruled “off limits” for all non-daily/hourly paid parking for all residents other than city residents.
The DRC was founded by the city in 1998. While it has collected over $17 million in parking fees from locals and tourists, downtown merchants say little or no downtown development has occurred since the organization was formed. What paid parking has created is a lack of shoppers in the downtown area, hurting businesses and depressing real estate values, they tell us. The DRC’s treasurer is city manager, John Pedersen.
The DRC is most famous for its recent harassment of the city’s Superblock Business owners. The city is currently in the process of purchasing those businesses after ongoing police presence for the last several years. Those actions have now caused multiple city lawsuits from private Myrtle Beach downtown business owners.
The local resident group, Make Myrtle Beaches Free Clean And Safe, have named the Saturday event “Lying On The Beach Party” because of the endless different stories they say were told to them by Mayor Rhodes and Myrtle Beach City Council.
The hashtag #ChainedToThe DRC is now just becoming a trending mime on Facebook and twitter.
“It is about time we put community over cash, and community members above membership in the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce,” said long time Horry County Resident Stacy Vaught.