The Buzz

July 29, 2014

Haley tells Atlantic Beach officials town should return to glory days, but Bikefest must end first

The Buzz

A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to thebuzz@thestate.com.

Gov. Nikki Haley and Atlantic Beach officials remain at a standoff regarding the future of Atlantic Beach Memorial Day Bikefest after a meeting Tuesday morning.

Haley said she would like to see Atlantic Beach return to what it was in the 1940s when there were bustling businesses, hotels and attractions and is willing to help the transformation with state funding – if town officials end Bikefest.

“When I look at Atlantic Beach the feeling I have is pride,” Haley told town council members. “When I look at Atlantic Beach the feeling I have is history. ... We need to find a way to make sure that this is a destination spot for all of the people from all over this country to [want to visit].”

But Atlantic Beach officials say that while they resepct and appreciate the governor’s opinion, they still have no plans to end Bikefest.

“There’s nothing on the table for us to get rid of Bikefest,” Mayor Jake Evans said. “She said she’s going to work with us to make sure this event is safer, and we are welcome to that. If she wants to help in any other kind of way, of course the citizens here in Atlantic Beach and me, as the mayor, and Town Council welcome that.”

Evans said the council would be open to transforming Atlantic Beach into place that is a tourist location year-round, but would not trade the end of Bikefest in order to do so.

The meeting comes two months after three people were killed and seven were injured in eight shootings along Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach during Memorial Day weekend.

Haley asked town officials to hold another meeting after Atlantic Beach officials have been able to consider her suggestions. Evans said he expects that meeting to occur within the next month.

Check back later for updates to this article.

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