(Story courtesy of MI 2020)
Murrells Inlet 2020, the nonprofit community revitalization group, hosted its spring “Chowder Talk” on March 6. Interested citizens came to hear the latest updates, see who won some awards, and learn about area improvement projects and upcoming events.
“The chowder, donated by Inlet Affairs Banquet and Catering, is always a draw,” said Sue Sledz, executive director of Murrells Inlet 2020.
Chairman Whitney Hills said two members had been added to MI 2020′s advisory board: Denise Shelley and David Owens. Denise and her husband own Booty’s. David is owner of Owens Liquors in Myrtle Beach. Hills told the group that MI 2020 continues to seek interested and committed volunteers to serve with the board of directors.
Hills presented the 2011 “Volunteer of the Year” award to Charlie and Elaine Pinson. The Pinson’s donate their time to many of MI 2020’s programs and events, including the Murrells Inlet water monitoring program, Marshwalk Planters, the golf tournament, autumn gala, Christmas parade, wreath fluffing, and more.
And, Hills presented Chip Smith with the 2011 Golden Oyster Award. The award, presented in honor and memory of Dr. H.P. Worrell, recognizes and rewards those businesses, organizations or individuals whose actions show respect and care for the inlet landscape and waters. Smith initiated the “Plus-One Boating” campaign that encourages boaters to bring back their trash plus one more piece, a campaign now used in several areas around the country. He is also founder of the annual Spring Tide Clean-Up, which has been going strong for 21 years. Smith founded Spring Tide after Hurricane Hugo deposited tons of debris in the inlet. In 2008, Smith and his committee turned over responsibilities to MI 2020, but Smith still plays a key role in guiding and directing the event.
Sledz, MI 2020 said the “Jetty View Walk” plans, which will build a sort of boardwalk along the south end of Business 17, have been submitted to DHEC for environmental permitting. The project is now on public notice with the agency. Once permitting is complete, MI 2020 will work with Georgetown County, who will handle procurement and construction management. She said MI 2020 has been awarded a $19,000 grant from the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor grant program for the project. Other sources of funding for the project will come from the Murrells Inlet 2020 pier funds, the property owners and Sunday Sales. The estimated construction cost is $235,000.
The project could be ready for construction early this summer.
In partnership with Georgetown County Parks and Recreation, Sledz said Murrells Inlet 2020 worked to have Morse Park Landing designated as a South Carolina National Heritage Corridor site. The corridor, established by Congress in 1996, represents regions where residents, businesses, and local governments work together to conserve special landscapes and their heritage.
Morse Park Landing, site of one of the inlet’s first oyster shucking restaurants and home to the Lost at Sea Memorial, represents the inlet’s maritime and seafood heritage. The park has many offerings for the Heritage Corridor visitor, including a public boat launch, suitable for kayaks, canoes and small boats, and a crabbing dock. The park’s open area and view provides access for picnics, photography, bird watching, painting and other outdoor recreational activities. The park is also a designated trailhead on the East Coast Greenway, a national trail extending from Maine to Key West, Fla. This corridor designation will give the park and inlet great exposure in the SC Heritage Corridor’s travel materials.
Sledz also reported that a committee has been formed to plan necessary improvements to improve safety along the Hwy. 17 Business bike lanes, connect the lanes to Garden City and the river, and address safety of pedestrian crossings in critical areas.
“Patience is a virtue,” Sledz said, “and it will be key on this safety project. It’s complex and formidable, but it must be addressed.”
Sledz also said that spring event dates are set: the South Atlantic Bank “Race for the Inlet” is March 24; the “Ride for the Inlet” is March 25; MI 2020 is hosting the Marshwalk Masters on April 7; and the annual golf tournament will be held at Blackmoor Golf Course on June 23.
(Contact MI2020 at 843-357-2007 or visit www.murrellsinletsc.com for more information.)