HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — A new Conway Medical Center hospital in Carolina Forest is one step closer to approval after Horry County Council passed its first reading at Tuesday’s meeting.
Council also passed the second reading for Tidelands Health’s new hospital in the Carolina Bays area. Council Chairman Johnny Gardner said both of the new hospitals are needed to meet the needs of the county.
“The more people we have, it is statistics that there are going to be injuries, there are going to be more car wrecks, more fires, and ultimately those people have to get treated,” Gardner said.
At a public meeting May 12, many residents expressed concerns over the new hospital in the Carolina Forest area.
“You don’t live there. You won’t have a hospital in your backyard,” said Richard McAndrew, a resident in The Farm neighborhood.
The proposed $160 million hospital would go along International Drive near the Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve.
Gardner also said that growth is the reason council also passed the raising of the stormwater fee and enhancements to public safety including various equipment and salary increases for employees.
“What do we need? We need five telecommunicators, we need 15 additional police officers,” Gardner said. “Now we have 1,000 people moving here every month and we’re going to need those people to provide services.”
With talks of more people moving to Horry County, Gardner said that’s why they passed the first reading to revise flood damage prevention standards to minimize losses due to flooding. Horry County currently has a one-foot freeboard elevation requirement for flood zones. County officials said some favored a three foot requirement.
“People that come here that are buying into these developments, they may not know it as well as other people do so what we’re trying to do is have future developments not be built in a low area — these areas close to the water, waterways or where these rivers are,” Gardner said.
Gardner said they plan to talk more about that and the 2022 budget at the next council meeting June 15.