Horry County leaders visit Washington seeking funds
By Pat Dowling|
On Wednesday, Sept. 21, Mayor Marilyn Hatley joined with other Horry County leaders to visit with U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, U.S. Senator Tim Scott, U.S. Representative Jim Clyburn, U.S. Representative Tom Rice, the House Appropriations staff and the Army Corps of Engineers in Washington, D.C., to discuss the need for beach renourishment along the Grand Strand.
Accompanying Mayor Hatley were Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus, Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes, North Myrtle Beach City Manager Mike Mahaney, Horry County Administrator Chris Eldridge, Myrtle Beach City Manager John Pedersen, Horry County Assistant Administrator Justin Powell, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Brad Dean, Director of South Carolina Parks Recreation & Tourism Duane Parrish, Warwick Group Consultants President Howard Marlowe and former U.S. Representative John Napier.
The group reviewed the history of 10-year federal beach renourishment projects along the Grand Strand; discussed the damage that continued beach erosion could do to the Grand Strandís $7.4 billion tourism industry, which supports 81,000 jobs; and requested that the 2018 Federal Budget, now being developed, include the federal share of the scheduled 2018 Grand Strand beach renourishment project.
The group also stressed that property abutting the dune line along the Grand Strand, which is protected and enhanced through beach renourishment, is worth more than $3.5 billion. Over the past several years, the dune line has been severely compromised in some locations and areas behind the dune line have been flooded, such as in Cherry Grove.
Specifically, the group asked for funding for all sections of Grand Strand beaches for the scheduled but currently unfunded 2018 federal beach renourishment project. The state of South Carolina has already appropriated $30 million for its share of the project. The cities of North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach and Horry County have committed to having their shares of project funding in place when the federal share of funding is made available.