By Ruben Lowman
A major grant of nearly $10,000 was awarded to Keep Horry County Beautiful to aid in their litter prevention and community outreach programs, as well as help fund infrastructure projects that make improvements to the county’s facilities throughout the year.
The annual support grant, announced by the group on Saturday, March 19, comes from South Carolina’s PalmettoPride organization, which is the state’s anti-litter and beautification organization. PalmettoPride was created by the state legislature to help fight litter and keep the state “clean, green and beautiful.”
The new funding will enable officials and volunteers with the organization to gain additional resources in combating litter in individual communities within Horry, and help to implement initiatives, programs and projects that are designed to prevent litter throughout the entire county.
“Keep Horry County Beautiful’s successes are a result of the development and investment in solutions our volunteers and citizens can be part of,” said April O’Leary, vice-chairperson of Keep Horry County Beautiful.
O’Leary said that she was thankful that the organization will be granted the opportunity to continue making vital improvements to the county and its local communities.
“Thanks to this funding from and our partnership with PalmettoPride, training from Keep South Carolina Beautiful and the support from our local and state elected officials, we can proudly say we are helping to establish and sustain clean and beautiful communities,” O’Leary said.
The organization will look to utilize the funding for a countywide tree-giveaway, O’Leary said, as well as “build the vitality of rural litter prevention programs.” She said that they will have more projects to announce in the future, while continuing to work cooperatively on litter reduction efforts with county officials, staff and volunteers.
Last year, Keep Horry County Beautiful received a grant of just under $7,000 from PalmettoPride. With that money they were able to implement several programs that brought valuable resources to county residents.
Some of those programs included their “Secure Your Load” Tarp Giveaway Campaign, their Annual Litter Index, increasing their prevention efforts in the rural parts of the county and supporting countless local adoption and litter clean-up groups, O’Leary said.
One of the centerpieces for the organization is their Community Cleanup Program, which empowers residents to volunteer in their own neighborhoods and make a difference by adopting their local parks. O’Leary said the organization was looking for additional volunteers to help with these efforts in several parks in the area.
“We are looking for active adoption partners to help take care of our most cherished locations,” she said. “Adoption partners can help clean up litter in these well-loved locations one time or sign two-year adoption agreements to clean litter and debris multiple times a year.”
All supplies, including trash grabbers, bags, gloves, safety vests, free volunteer T-shirts and special car decals that display each adoption partner’s specific Keep Horry County Beautiful affiliation are included as part of the program.
Popular Park, located at 5831 Highway 90, and Simpson Creek Park, located at 1420 Loop Circle just off Highway 905, are currently in need of adoption partners. Both parks serve the Longs community. In addition, Loris Nature Park, which sits right across Loris Lions Road from the city’s high school, is currently in need of adoption partners. The park earlier this month also received a recommendation from the county’s parks board to allocate a quarter of a million dollars to build a wheelchair-accessible playground.
O’Leary said that the organization coordinates with their local adoption partners to provide necessary police and safety backup, post cautionary event signage and the pickup of the bags after the cleanup event. She said they also provide safety training so volunteers are aware of the “do’s and do not’s of a community cleanup.” Groups that enroll and conduct regular cleanup events at their sites will also qualify to have a sign erected in acknowledgment of their efforts to beautify their community.
Keep Horry County Beautiful also recently announced that they have gone digital, meaning volunteers can now file all their adoption site reports online. These include supply and equipment requests, one-time cleanup and two-year adoption requests, as well as wrap-up reports.
Another way residents can help the local beautification effort is by reporting litter in the unincorporated areas of the county by using the M311 function of the HCConnect App, a new feature just rolled out by the county’s planning and zoning administrations. Residents just have to fill out a few key details and then the app generates a service request that goes directly to county officials.
If you are interested in becoming an adoption partner or for more information on Keep Horry County Beautiful, call 843-915-6510 or email KeepHorryCountyBeautiful@horrycounty.org.