‘Welcome Back’ Horry County Committee discusses allocating relief funds, marketing for summer travel

Local News

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – Horry County leaders plan to release surveys for people to complete to help officials decide how to spend some of the County’s coronavirus relief money.

The Citizenship Participation Process is mandatory for localities when allocating funding from the Community Development Block Grant Program. The County’s allocation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is $1,159,107.

The Welcome Back Horry County committee discussed two surveys today; one for residential use and another for businesses.

The goal is to find and fund unmet needs in the community. This can include things like expanding testing capacity, expanding Meals on Wheels services, helping people with low to moderate incomes or to help small businesses.

“We ask them to prioritize what their needs are and identify those needs that have yet been met, because specifically with the CARES Act funding, we see a lot of different pools of money from different agencies, but in many cases they might do the same thing,” Courtney Frappaolo, from Horry County’s Community Development and Block Grants department said.The money can be used in the unincorporated parts of Horry County and in the City of Myrtle Beach.

The Welcome Back Horry County Committee also discussed the importance of bringing tourists back to the Grand Strand this summer, and the vital role the community plays in the process.
“The vacation rental aspect of our community is very important,” Rick Elliott of Elliott Realty said. “We’re the engine that drives a lot of revenue and we need to be very cognizant of our locals and how they feel.”

A sentiment several committee members echoed today.

“There’s still a lot of fear on behalf of our residents,” Cheryl Kilday with the North Myrtle Beach Chamber said. “It’s a national trend, it’s not unique to us.”

Kilday also voiced concerns about the potential of travelers testing postive for Covid-19, this as if a visitor was tested and it resulted positive while they were vacationing on the Grand Strand, their case would be counted toward those where they permanently reside; not in Horry County. She says finding a way to track how many travelers test positive and having protocols for when they do, could help locals feel more comfortable.

“If we knew that it wasn’t a silent sort of factor; if people were in fact being tested here and becoming positive,” Kilday explained.

The committee also agreed today to check local hospital occupancy rates to make sure if there was to be a surge in Horry County, the medical facilities would be able to meet the demand.

“My understanding is the hospitals are operating at less than half capacity and I wanted to try to confirm that to see if we did actually did have an outbreak here as we started to welcome guests back, would the local facilities be able to handle that,” Lance Thompson from Ocean Lakes Campground said.

The committee plans to start a website where travelers, residents and business owners can find resources about grants, best practices for sanitation and social distancing, and updates on the pandemic in our area.

There are also plans for Public Service Announcements about the virus and welcoming tourists back to the area with local elected officials. That will be discussed in more depth at the Welcome Back Horry County committee meeting next Thursday.

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