Tag: Chinese investment

Local Reflections on 2016

Reflecting back on the year’s events in these last days of 2016, several local issues stand out that will carry over unresolved into the New Year.

The International Drive project is a perfect example of what many citizens find wrong in the country today. The project is highly popular with a vast majority of citizens because of the ‘back door’ ingress and egress it will give to Carolina Forest neighborhoods.

Horry County spent the year winning one court hearing after another over environmental groups trying to block the project. Some construction work was done in the fall after permits were issued by SCDHEC and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

However, a temporary stay issued by a federal court, since removed, and now a stay against the permits issued by the state court of appeals leaves the project once again stalled awaiting further court dates.

I first rode with General Vaught in his four wheel truck on what is now called International Drive when it was nothing more than a dirt track through the woods. There is no vast environmental disaster waiting to happen if construction of International Drive is completed.

Nevertheless, a small group of environmentalists continues to thwart the wishes of a vast majority of the citizens while completion of a much needed road continues to be delayed.

Staying with the county, much needed changes in the Horry County Police Department have begun with the hiring of a new chief in the fall.

After a year in which the county and its police department was hit with a series of lawsuits over the conduct of officers, notably those in the detective division, over a series of years, hopefully those transgressions will be ending.

Gingrich, Myrtle Beach, Oil and Interstates

Crime, China, Taxes and Myrtle Beach

A little less than a year ago, Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes told citizens crime in Myrtle Beach was at a 20 year low.

Last week Myrtle Beach officials hosted a forum at the Base Recreation Center near Market Common to address the heroin epidemic that is raging in Myrtle Beach and throughout Horry County.

A few days after the forum, a drug sting in the Racepath neighborhood resulted in 42 arrests for possession of controlled substances and intent to distribute controlled substances.

What changed in a year?

Well, 2015 was an election year for Myrtle Beach City Council and 2016 is not.

Another area of interest is the supposed $100 million project Chinese investors were supposed to be planning for the Myrtle Beach area.

Six months ago, Rhodes and Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus traveled to China for a two week trip. Upon their return, Rhodes and Lazarus announced investors associated with the $100 million investment would be visiting the area within 60-90 days and details of the project would be made public at that time.

We are now 90 days beyond that timeframe and things have gone very quiet about the supposed project.

In the interim, we have heard Rhodes went to China for a week and has another trip planned for next week.

Meanwhile, Black Bear golf course, purchased by Chinese investors two years ago, recently closed. What does that say about Chinese investment in the area?

Maybe an indicator is the China City of America project proposed for Sullivan County, New York five years ago. Initially touted as a $6 billion project complete with a college, family residences, a theme park and a casino, the project has been scaled back to just the for-profit college for approximately 900 students, most of whom will come from China.