Mayor wants Myrtle Beach boardwalk to be world's longest

Myrtle Beach's mayor wants the city to have the longest boardwalk in the world and he says expanding it could be done without tax money.

On a sunny Friday morning, Michael and Tracy Johnson from Fresno, California enjoyed a pleasant stroll on the boardwalk.

"You're sitting here right in front of the ocean, you just can't beat this," Michael Johnson said.

The couple last visited Myrtle Beach three years ago, when the boardwalk was under construction and Tracy Johnson is impressed with the way it looks today.

"It's real clean and just pretty and new," she said.

Mayor John Rhodes thinks the boardwalk is a good thing, too. So good, he thinks it should be expanded, from its current 1.2 miles to 4.6 miles, which would make it the world's longest.

He says that would cost $20 million and he thinks the city could find private investors to pay for it.

"We're going to have to look at naming rights, public-private monies."

Rhodes says companies buy naming rights for football stadiums all the time and the boardwalk would attract millions more people than a stadium.

The mayor insists there would be no tax dollars spent on extending the boardwalk. He says the city has already talked to a few potential corporate sponsors.

"The ones that we've spoken to, I think would give us a good indication as to whether this could become reality or is it just a fantasy dream."

The new Bandito's restaurant ( is paying to extend the boardwalk about 400 feet at 14th Ave. North. The extension is scheduled to be finished next March. Rhodes says the city has considered asking hotels along the way if they'd be willing to pay for a portion of it.

The owner of the Carnival Motor Inn says he's not sure about investing in it, but he likes the idea of extending the boardwalk past his property.

"It would allow customers that are staying here, guests and so forth, that it would give them greater access to do things up and down the beach," said George Brickwedde.

But the owner of another hotel, who asked not to be identified, is opposed to an extension. She says her guests want to see the ocean, not people walking by on the boardwalk.