Thursday, March 05, 2009

BREAKING: McCain labels Myrtle Beach project, "porky"


By Victoria Spechko
Thursday, March 05, 2009 at 10:29 a.m.
Senator John McCain has taken to sending out a daily list of the top 10 "porkiest" projects contained in the president's budget.

The items are often amusing, ranging from $1.7 million dollars for pig odor management to $1.7 million for a honey bee factory.

But Wednesday, McCain took aim at funding allocated for a Myrtle Beach project.

The list, sent out as a Twitter feed from McCain, reads "$950,000 for a Convention Center in Myrtle Beach, SC."

Mark Kruea, Myrtle Beach's spokesman, says that's not entirely accurate. The money would be used to help purchase the remaining 12 acres of land still needed for expansion at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.

The city has purchased 28 of the 40 acres needed for the expansion. The money would aid in the purchase of the remaining 12 acres located between Oak Street and Grissom Parkway.

We asked Mark Kruea how the project ended up as part of the federal budget. He said the city has had a standing request with representatives in Washington for federal money for the project.

The city put $6 million in the capitol budget for this year to begin the expansion efforts, but getting that might be tricky in today's economic climate.

Kruea said the city had planned to sell bonds to raise the money, but the bond market is not favorable right now. They may try to sell the bonds late this year or early next year.

The city is relying on the Rivoli Theatre Group to raise one million dollars for the expansion.

Kruea said a ballpark "total cost" for the expansion is around $75 million dollars.

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