Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Is There Yet Another Park in Myrtle Beach's Future?

The amusement park scene in Myrtle Beach seems to have fallen into a perpetual cycle of expansion and contraction. In the wake of the Pavilion closure, followed by the Hard Rock Park/Freestyle Music Park drama, it now appears that Myrtle Beach may be gearing up to welcome another newcomer.

The Sun News reports that two local businessmen are backing a proposed plan to build a small amusement park around 91 S. Ocean Boulevard. Those backers are Mark Lazarus, owner of Wild Water & Wheels, and H.G. Worley, who co-owns the land on which the park would be built. Dreamland Amusements, a company which specializes in providing amusements for state and county fairs, is being tapped to supply the rides.

While precious few details are revealed in the article, it does mention that the park would be named "OD Pavilion and Amusement Park" and would feature a Ferris wheel, small roller coaster, games, and "other rides". No gate admission would be charged; instead, each ride would cost approximately $2-$3, which is pretty much in line with what nearby Family Kingdom Amusement Park charges for ride tickets.

Plans for the new park are dependent on a change to the North Myrtle Beach city code which has already been unanimously approved by the board and now awaits sign-off by the City Council. If all goes well, the park could open as early as August 2009.

In light of all the emotions stirred by the Pavilion's closure, a new park which pays tribute to that tradition--even down to its name--could do well in Myrtle Beach. Over the past year, the local community has made it clear that they are interested in good old-fashioned seaside family fun as opposed to blockbuster theme parks. The real question is, how would the arrival of a new "traditional" park affect Family Kingdom's business?

Below is a map illustrating the distribution of some of the past, present, and [potentially] future parks in Myrtle Beach. Clockwise from the upper left-hand corner, the blue markers represent Freestyle Music Park, Pavilion Nostalgia Park, the former site of the Pavilion, the proposed site for OD Pavilion and Amusement Park, and Family Kingdom. There is not a lot of breathing room between the last two!