(Ed. Note: This article was published in Alternatives Magazine nearly 20 years ago, four years before Marion Foxworth was the District 3 member for Horry County Council. It is reprinted here with permission from the former owner of Alternatives. It made interesting reading then and is even more so today. Carolina Forest was in the very early stages of changing from a tree farm to the most densely populated area in the unincorporated county. I would contend we have headed down the retirement community fork, with tourism on the wane, as witnessed by controversies over bike weeks and adult entertainment, the decline in golf, amusement parks and other entertainment venues as well as continuing issues with infrastructure and public safety. One only has to look at the history of the last 40 years in St. Augustine, FL to see the trend being repeated in Horry County.)
Quite a bit has been said and written about the tremendous growth that we have seen during the last few years. Both Horry County and the City of Myrtle Beach have undertaken extensive efforts to establish updated comprehensive Masterplans. The local daily newspaper devoted countless columns to a series entitled ‘Living in a Boom Town’. And most recently, residents have turned out in record numbers in an effort to influence the direction taken by various governing boards and regulatory agencies.
As a lifelong student of public policy and as an observer of the political environment of South Carolina, I have to opine that we are coming upon a very definitive moment in our history. In short, Myrtle Beach, the Grand Strand and Horry County are at a fork in the road. Which direction we take will determine the type of community we have for generations to come. It also will determine how many of us will make a living and support our families.
The Fork in the Road is represented by two extremes. The fork to the left is one that the direction is dictated by those in power and positions of influence who would have Horry County become ultimately a ‘live-in theme park’. This option would be marked by a continuation of the tremendous building boom of late. Pine trees would continue to fall in record numbers. Our beautiful natural settings would give way to additional growth as our rivers would one day resemble the current ocean front.