Recreation fee on new developments could help Horry County parks department

Grand Strand

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Two Horry County Council members have an idea to help keep the Carolina Forest Recreation Center open.

If the county can’t find more funding, pickleball games may stop and basketball hoops may not be used any more at the Carolina Forest Recreation Center.

“Recreation and park facilities are crucial to our youth development and I would hate to see any of the facilities close,” said Kevin Kiely, a volunteer boys basketball coach at the rec center.

The Horry County Parks and Recreation Department says the center is one of about 30 locations that may shut down. Parks and rec says it needs $3 million to keep up with growth and current services.

Council member Dennis DiSabato, who represents parts of Carolina Forest, says the center will stay open.

“This rec center isn’t going to go anywhere,” he said.

DiSabato and council member Bill Howard, who also represents Carolina Forest, say they’re looking to see if the county can add a recreation fee to new developments.

“The parks and rec department hasn’t seen a millage increase in more than 20 years, which is why we’re in the position we’re in right now,” said DiSabato.

During a Carolina Forest Civic Association meeting in the rec center Wednesday, DiSabato said Georgetown County has a similar law to fund its parks and rec department.

“With the development that’s going on here in Carolina Forest and in some more rural parts of the community, I think it could really do a lot of good to help not only keep our rec centers afloat, but also give us the capital to make improvements,” DiSabato said.

Those who use the rec center say it would be a shame to close the seven-year-old building.

“It’s centrally located,” Kiely said. “One of the amenities in the area that attracted me and other people was this very building.”

Like the county’s other departments, parks and rec funding is part of the discussion for next year’s budget. That funding and the Carolina Forest rec center’s future have not been decided on yet.

Council has until the end of June to pass the final budget.

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