Saturday’s editorials address two recent examples of the evolution of our area. The first expresses our hope that Myrtle Beach will tread carefully with its idea to sell naming rights for city landmarks. The second chides Surfside Beach for running a good business out of town without offering any good reason.
Myrtle Beach’s idea of offering naming rights to its notable properties late last month to raise money for the city seems like a novel idea that could quickly get out of hand.
Obviously, any money the idea raises will lessen the burden on taxpayers for city services and projects. Sponsorship might even increase the usage of specific landmarks, as the companies who buy naming rights will more than likely promote them on their own. In some cases, it could be a creative pairing of public and private interests.
But the idea also definitely has the potential to go wrong. Do we want, for example, BP sponsoring a pool? McDonald’s sponsoring our picnic shelters?
Even pairings that lack obvious irony could easily just contribute to the gaudiness that Myrtle Beach has struggled to move away from. The boardwalk, for example, has been such a success that it would seem wrong to cheapen it with corporate sponsorship: It’s Myrtle Beach’s boardwalk; this city built it, not any company; and there should be no confusion about that.
On the other hand, the official names of the BB&T Coastal Field (or its predecessor, Coastal Federal Field) or the Bi-Lo Myrtle Beach Marathon bother relatively few of us. Corporate sponsorship of sporting events has become so ubiquitous that naming a few more athletic facilities after companies will change the city’s landscape very little, so perhaps the council would do well to constrain its name games in this arena.
Well, of course Nibils is leaving Surfside Beach.
The town’s treatment of its landmark restaurant at the base of the pier has been shockingly callous. Their initial announcement that the lease for the restaurant’s site would have to be bid out once the town bought the pier seemed like a mere unintended consequence, an oversight: Why couldn’t the existing restaurant simply have been grandfathered in as part of the pier purchase?
But the legal limbo that the town has kept the restaurant in for so long begins to look, at its best, like government’s worst face – inept, unresponsive, needlessly bureaucratic – and at worst like something even more conspiratorial and nefarious. City Councilman Doug Samples called Nibils recent decision to withdraw from the process the “worst of all possible outcomes,” and he’s right. It’s hard to imagine landlord-tenant negotiations failing more completely, and we imagine other potential tenants will now be wary of entering any agreement.
At its new location on Myrtle Beach’s Kings Highway, Nibils will unfortunately lose the spectacular view of the ocean that gave its previous spot so much charm. But it will keep its loyal customers, they told The Sun News last week, and on such a busy road, it will be sure to find new ones as well.
More than that, the Cahills know they will have the entire Grand Strand’s best wishes. Sadly, we can’t say the same for Surfside Beach’s town government.