City says merchants create environment for Myrtle Beach Crime
“As a downtown business investor, why should my customer be taxed only to promote and send him (and others) to neighboring beach towns when they return? That is like taxing Ford so that people will be encouraged to buy Chevrolet,” said a former Superblock Merchant. “We elected these leaders to lead. They have no vision and no plan. If they are going to tax my customers and charge my guests for parking, for Pete’s sake, we beg you to fix this Myrtle Beach brand.“
After a crime spree that included eight shootings in one week, City Manager John Pedersen and City Councilman Wayne Gray suggested to the Myrtle Beach Sun News that perhaps the merchants themselves were to blame for the high crime rate in Myrtle Beach. Councilman Wayne Gray told the Sun News, “We’ve battled that for 30 years…we’ve battled the city trying to regulate the sale of clothing material or paraphernalia or knick-knacks that…are bought by people that may be trying to perpetrate crimes.”
Merchants, however, tell MyrtleBeachSC.com that elected leaders treat area business owners with less respect than those they should be putting in jail. They insist that a lack of city vision, reactive planning, and a tone deaf elected Mayor and city council are the key cause of the mess that is downtown Myrtle Beach. Many we spoke with were infuriated after last week’s downtown city council meeting and the printing of this Sun News article which laid blame on those downtown investors.
Karon Mitchell, whose family has previously owned businesses in the heart of downtown Myrtle Beach for multiple generations said, “As a business owner for 40 years in the downtown area, having watched the city deteriorate from a family friendly beach to its current state, I have been very outspoken about the things we have seen down here. We have brought these issues to the city many times over the years. This did not suddenly become a problem. Business owners and citizens of Myrtle Beach have made City Hall and the police department aware of all the problems we have dealt with now for decades in the downtown area.”
“I would like someone to ask city council what has been their plan to help the area and help these downtown merchants. The city has no vision. They are not pro-active. We certainly do not have the right person in leadership in the Myrtle Beach police department. You would think that as many times that we, as business owners, have approached the city about these concerns asking for help and a strategy for addressing these problems they continue to treat us like we are actually a large part of the problem,” Mitchell stated.
Here are comments MyrtleBeachSC.com saw posted online about how to fix the lack of city leadership citywide:
Merchants and locals continually tell us the crime problems begin and end with elected city government. They believe the city should stop blaming and attacking actual investors, and then create a plan for a safe working environment for those business owners and their customers.
Last Winter, the city of Myrtle Beach shut down an area called the Superblock on claims that it was foundational in the city’s crime issues. Merchants in that area say they were harassed unnecessarily. Recent shootings indicate that closing this area has done little to curb Myrtle Beach’s high crime rate.
“As a downtown business investor, why should my customer be taxed only to promote and send him (and others) to neighboring beach towns when they return? That is like taxing Ford so that people will be encouraged to buy Chevrolet,” said a former Superblock Merchant. “We elected these leaders to lead. They have no vision and no plan. If they are going to tax my customers and charge my guests for parking, for Pete’s sake, we beg you to fix this Myrtle Beach brand.”