North Myrtle Beach officials eyeing major investments to help better prepare for hurricanes

Grand Strand

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — North Myrtle Beach officials are eyeing some major investments that could help make the city better prepared for hurricanes.

One of those projects that’s in the proposed budget is getting utilities underground along a stretch of North Ocean Boulevard.

“Those transformers blow during thunderstorms in the summer,” Bobby McManus said, who lives on North Ocean Boulevard.

McManus loves a lot about his family beach house. He doesn’t seem to love the utility poles, though.

“We do have problems with storms that come through and all these power lines,” he said. “Transformers that are constantly blowing and lines falling.”

City officials are planning to move the utilities underground from 29th Avenue North to 37th Avenue North along the boulevard. The project would cost over $5 million to get done, according to city officials.

“If you put them underground, they’re protected from storms, hurricanes,” city spokesperson Pat Dowling said. “Saves everyone a lot of money in the long run.”

Also in the works, a new building planned for west of the Intracoastal Waterway to house a new Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and fire station, along with some other facilities. The building is planned to withstand a Category Five storm

“Right now we utilize our fire training room as our EOC,” North Myrtle Beach Fire Chief Garry Spain said. “And it’s really a restricted area… So what this building is going to help us with, we’re going to have a center.  Where we can physically run our operations and at the same time we can hold our meetings with city council.”

An EOC can be critical during major storms. Spain said the EOC can also come into play during other major events and emergencies. The building, however, is set to have many other different uses such as office space.

“We’re going to move so many people over to this location and open up more usable space for our that we’re starving for now,” Spain said.

Spain added the project will be completed in phases. He hopes to have it out to bid soon. The project is projected to cost over $20 million when all is said and done.

North Myrtle Beach city council is expected to have its first reading on its proposed budget for the next year June 7. Count on News13 for updates.

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