Horry County looks to build rural civic center to draw rural tourism

Grand Strand

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – A center for rodeos, shooting ranges, and tractor and farm shows could make its way to Horry County as leaders look to build a civic center in a rural part of the county.

“It’s their desire to build something in the western part of the county that will be committed to things like rural tourism of some kind,” Horry County Councilman, Johnny Vaught said.

Horry County Electric Co-op has promised to pay $400,000 a year to run the civic center; Horry County has already accumulated $1.2 million of those funds. Vaught says it will cost around $15 to $20 million to build the first phase of the project.

“We’re going to take a phased-type approach to it with building the arena first and then expanding on that with the other things I just talked about because we can’t afford to do it all at once,” Vaught said.

The first step is to find a location for the arena. County leaders want to build the civic center near a major road that has easy access to the beach.

“There are not a lot of motels and things out in that part of the county, so what we would want to do would be to locate it near 22, or 701, or 501, or 9, or some place like that out in the county, so that people could get back and forth to the beach easily to restaurants and hotels,” Vaught said.

A special committee was formed to work on the civic center project. Vaught says it will meet in January with location options and prices.

The project is still in its early planning stages. The county is looking for ways to fund the arena, but leaders hope to “turn some dirt” by this time next year.

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