Howie Thompson 2013 & 2014 Best Author, Grand Strand Happening
It’s August, it’s hot, we all know where the beach is, and what goes on at Broadway on the Beach, and certainly everyone knows where they choose to eat and shop at Market Commons and where they can splash and dash at Myrtle Waves. But now, there is a new kid on the block, and the new kid has made a splash on the entertainment scene of North Myrtle Beach. The new kid is the Park and Sports Complex of North Myrtle Beach. And this is not you Grand Parents Sports Complex.
“Who’s In Charge Here?”
It takes a team to organize and operate a Sports Complex the size of the North Myrtle Beach Park and Sports Complex. Through the vision and efforts of Mayor Marilyn Hatley, and the North Myrtle Beach City Council, the dream of this complex was born. A good team needs a great Coach, and John Bullard, Director of Parks and Recreation, leads a group talented team players. Matt Gibbons, Superintendent of Recreation and Sports Tourism is the one man who is responsible for bringing both Sports and Recreation events to the Park. Gibboins and his staff, which includes Megan Petillo, Matt Decker, and Paul McCullough are located in the Administration building over looking the spacious park. Graham Feris is the Concessions/Beach Services Manager, and has two excellent Mangers working with him. Carol Andrews and Stephen Martin, keep the Concession Stands open, and serving great food. Jim Grainger, Public Grounds Superintendent, along with Bernie Lowe, Crew Leader direct a myriad of part and full time workers who keep the park clean, the fields cut and prepared and the Park in great shape. The two full time employees are Kurt Ridelin, (All around fix it man) Facility Manager, and “Butter” Livingston, Landscape Leader.
The crew includes both men and women who work long hard hours making sure that when the Park opens at 6:00 a.m. it looks great and is ready for those tens of thousands of visitors who have already enjoyed the Park’s multiple amenities. Over 25 part time workers and several full time workers , cut grass, fix problems, change fields from one size to another, clean bathrooms, empty garbage cans and make sure that the playgrounds, shelters, Amphitheater and dog barks are ready to meet the challenges of the day. Another 10-12 part time workers supervise events, and help event leaders make sure everything runs like a clock.
What to do, What to do?
While the title of Sports Complex surely fits, as there has already been Tournaments in Baseball, Softball, Soccer, National Football Camp, Ultimate Frisbee and of course a Quidditch Tournament every single weekend from March 1st, and will continue through December 18th to date. But, oh there is so much more.
Do you want to plan a birthday party, family reunion or maybe just want to come to the park at night and have dinner in one of the 7 Shelters? For merely $25.00 for 4 hours the Shelter can be all yours. And, if you like Free Concerts, well once a month on Fridays there is a free concert at the Amphitheater.
You want more, well, do you like to fly? You can take advantage of the Jet Pack Adventure on the lake where you can walk on water or better yet go up 20 feet and fly over the lake. And if you go to the movies and watch the new Planet of the Apes Movie, then, as of August 23rd , you can come to the Park and take part in the “Go Ape” Zip Line Take a 2 and ½ hour tour through the trees and over the lake just like Tarzan for us older folks, or show off your best Caesar impression through the tree tops of the Park. Still not impressed? Well if you like to walk or bike there are bike and walking trails all through the Park. The three playgrounds located at the Baseball and Soccer Complexes as well in the center of the entire complex rival any playground your child has enjoyed anywhere. The Center Playground has three shelters with grills.
Woof, Woof. You have a dog or two? Well, the Park has 2 outstanding Dog Parks. One for the “Big Dogs”, and another for the smaller dogs. Both Parks have an ample amount of benches to sit and watch your favorite boy or girl have fun with their friends.
So, if you are a sports enthusiast the Park and Sports Complex is your home away from home. Any given weekend you can see the very best College/youth softball, baseball, football, soccer and yes, Quiditch. Oh, please bring your laptops and cell phones as the park is Wi-Fi friendly and has over 30 sites where you can power up and connect to see what is happening in any given sport taking place. And you can partake in the Parks 4 Concession Stands that are ready to serve your culinary desires. Not just chips and drinks here, a full menu of outstanding food.
Come for the sports, bring your kids and dogs, enjoy a concert, take a walk, take a ride over the lake and then top off your day in the tree tops on the new Zip Line. When you have to use “the facilities”, please take note of the clean bathrooms and the hot water to clean up. It’s all here and most of it is free.