‘Rhodes was the father of sports tourism’: Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce remembers former long-time mayor

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Following the passing of former long-time mayor of Myrtle Beach, John Rhodes, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce sent their condolences to his family.

“We mourn the passing of former Mayor John Rhodes and send our deepest condolences to his family and friends. Rhodes was devoted to his family and his city and was a good friend to the chamber and business community.

In many ways, Rhodes was the father of sports tourism and the tourism development fee.

As Mayor, Rhodes helped lead the planning, design, construction and operation of the Myrtle Beach Sports Center. He was a driving force behind the renovations at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium helping make it one of the best track facilities in our region.

He oversaw the redevelopment of what we now know as The Market Common. An upscale shopping and residential neighborhood, The Market Common is also home to the Grand Park Athletic Complex.

Rhodes was equally proud of his efforts to build Savannah’s Playground at The Market Common, an all-abilities playground where all children feel welcome, recognized as one of the best adaptive playgrounds in the country.

He worked tirelessly with elected officials and tourism leaders in Myrtle Beach and legislators in Columbia to help pass the landmark tourism legislation in Myrtle Beach to invest in tourism and help keep taxes low for Myrtle Beach residents.

His tenure as mayor, which lasted three terms, saw the development of the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, the 1.3 mile project that helped spur millions in private investment on oceanfront Myrtle Beach.

He served as the director of the Beach Ball Classic since 1981 until his passing. The annual tournament is nationally recognized and brings teams from across the country to Myrtle Beach

in the winter months. He was also a pioneer in girls basketball, growing a girls tournament with former UNC Women’s Basketball Coach Sylvia Hatchell.

John’s passion for his city and for sports shone through in every conversation, but the topic he loved to share the most was his love and pride of his wonderful family. He always had a story about projects he and his wife Terri were involved in and would share pictures of his children and grandchildren. He will be greatly missed.”

Karen Riordan, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce

Rhodes died after a battle with COVID-19. His death was announced Sunday afternoon. Rhodes was the mayor of Myrtle Beach for 12 years and was first elected in 2005. He also was the executive director of the Beach Ball Classic basketball tournament.

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