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      Garden City Beach gains its own identity

      Visitors to the Grand Strand are seeing some changes around a community they may have seen before, but weren't familiar with.

      Garden City Beach is finally getting its own place in the sun.

      Residents say Garden City has a lot to offer, but what the unincorporated community did not have before was its own identity, separate from nearby towns like Surfside Beach or Murrells Inlet.

      But that is changing.

      Tuesday, Horry County leaders unveiled Welcome to Garden City Beach signs, plus additional landscaping in the median on US Highway 17 Business and a new website. All of the efforts are intended to help distinguish the Garden City community from others.

      "So with the new signs, people will know when they come and leave Garden City and they'll know they're not in Litchfield, they're not in Surfside or Myrtle beach, and it'll begin to have an identity," said Horry County Councilman Paul Price, whose 5th district encompasses Garden City.

      Garden City Beach resident Laura Buntz has been watching the new landscaping go in.

      She says it's exciting to see her community become more of a community.

      "It's just going to be an incredible completion to that whole family neighborhood, family atmosphere that we're very proud of here," Buntz said.

      Part of the reason for adding the landscaping and the welcome signs is to give visitors to the Grand Strand a better first impression of the area.

      "You want it to look good, you want it to look clean, put up some good plantings and so forth, and it's more inviting and people remember those things and they're more likely to come back," Price said.

      The Garden City project is part of a larger effort by Horry County to make the gateways to the Grand Strand more inviting.

      Price says he has more ideas in mind. He'd like to document the history of the community. For example, he says, how did Garden City get its name?

      "And I've done some research, but I don't want to let that out yet," he said with a laugh.

      For now, Price is just happy to have a welcome sign.