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      Building North Myrtle Beach, a private sector effort

      North Myrtle Beach Chamber leaders held a luncheon Wednesday to announce a significant amount of money raised to fund the five year strategic effort called "Building North Myrtle Beach."

      Marc Jordan, president of the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce, says the chamber spent about two years looking into the needs of the community, including using an outside consultant, and the result was this new campaign.

      The plan aims to grow the area's tourism economy, diversify the economy, and properly maintain the new chamber facility.

      In growing the tourism economy, the chamber put out a proposal to hotel owners to generate marketing funds. 18 hotel owners have already signed up to put a voluntary $1 per room night fee on reservations. Jordan said this could generate between $300,000 and $500,000 a year for out-of-market promotions.

      At the meeting Wednesday, leaders learned that some restaurants and golf courses are looking into the option as well.

      In terms of diversifying the North Myrtle Beach economy, the chamber will be working closely with Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development group to bring in new jobs by identifying what businesses will work well in the North Myrtle Beach area.

      Jordan stressed that the "Building North Myrtle Beach" campaign is a private sector effort. They'll be working to raise money over the next five years. Jordan said they've already identified $500,000, and in the last 24 hours an estimated $100,000 in additional funds have come in.

      The chamber plans to reach out to all members on a broader scale starting next month.