Atlantic Beach Receives $25,000 Grant for Historic Beach Access Facilities | News


Evans, who was also born in the late 1950s, noted that his parents built one of the first motels in Atlantic Beach.

However, the city will soon experience hard times.

Both Bailey and Evans recalled that the integration, which began in the Myrtle Beach area in the early 1970s, had the unintended consequence of driving customers away from Atlantic Beach.

“If you were African American during segregation, you were only allowed in Atlantic Beach,” Evans said, explaining that the integration opened up travel opportunities for black vacationers. “When people could go elsewhere, we lost business.”

“That’s why we put the bike party on the table, to try and bring business back to Atlantic Beach,” he added, referring to the town’s annual motorcycle rally over Memorial weekend. Day, known as “Black Bike Week” for its predominantly black riders.

James Dewitt, who opened the Dewitt Motel in 1974, said integration had indeed taken decades.

“Especially in the 90s, that really started to change,” he said. “What happened is that (customers would go) to other beaches and find they can get the same thing at lower prices.”

However, he noted that the city has participated in the boom in business in the greater Myrtle Beach area over the past decade.

“Business has improved tremendously over the past decade,” Dewitt said, adding that for many, rent remains affordable in Atlantic Beach while climbing out of reach in surrounding communities. “It’s getting better every day.”

Bailey agreed.

“I think what you’ll see now is a resurgence in our community,” she said. “People are investing and settling into the community.”

There is currently no timeline for the Public Access Historical Walkway project, but Evans said he wants to get community feedback and potentially secure more grants before moving forward.

While Bailey was also awaiting comment, she said the facilities will provide historical context for Atlantic Beach’s unique community.


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