Myrtle Beach welcomed tourists to peak summer season this week with newly installed barricade fences.
The barricades were put in place by Myrtle Beach City Manager John Pedersen. The city could leave the fences in place for the entire summer.
After a string of downtown shootings which made national news, the city manager was given a “No Confidence” vote by downtown merchants in a letter sent to city council this past week.
Pedersen is described by business owners as a heavy handed, ultra liberal who fully believes in top down, comprehensive government planning. He hails from Durham, N.C.
WE ARE GOING TO BUILD A WALL, AND SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS WILL PAY FOR IT.
News of the barricades was broadcast nationally on Foxnews, ABC, and published on NY Times, N.C.’s Charlotte Observer, and US News.
News of barricades, the shootings and the actual barricades, themselves, are all taking a financial toll on small business owners with bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and retail shops on ocean boulevard. As the Sun News reported:
Ocean Boulevard, though relatively busier and much better-lit than back streets, was still lacking in foot traffic, and for some businesses, lacking in customers too.
“This is Friday night on Ocean Boulevard,” said bartender Art Kussmich [on June 23rd], gesturing at the handful of patrons still sitting at Sharkey’s Beach Bar at 600 N. Ocean Blvd.
He said that Thursday night, the bar closed at 10 p.m., when it normally might shut down at 1 or 2 a.m.
MyrtleBeachSC.com met with several small business owners to discuss a plan the city has to redevelop the downtown area. City Manager John Pedersen works as treasurer of the powerful, Downtown Redevelopment Corporation. This quasi non elected city group has proposed the following plan to redevelop the area from 1st Avenue North to 8th Avenue North.
The only hiccup in the plans are the existing, current downtown merchants who own the land. Parking meters city-wide, which fund the DRC, have been one way to financially hurt these merchants and drive off some traffic. Eminent Domain, a newly given tool used by Mr. Pedersen as leverage in taking properties in Myrtle Beach, is the newest weapon.
The barricades during peak season could likely keep some merchants from turning profits this summer.
The thriving and safe cities of the City of North Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach, and Pawleys Island are growing, yet none of these cities have a DRC. Myrtle Beach elected leaders say they are perplexed as to why new investors will not move into certain areas where vacant buildings abound.
City merchants say it is obviously because of the heavy-handed DRC. So many business owners told us they would invest, re-invest and grow the downtown area, if city government would just get out of the way.
For now, while the beach cities of North Myrtle Beach, Surfside, Garden City and Pawleys Island near Myrtle Beach operate with minimum crime and are growing and prospering, the heavy-handed, government city of Myrtle Beach lags behind.