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      Skating rink, aquatic center on Horry County rec projects list

      An equestrian center, an aquatic facility and an ice skating rink are on a list of capital projects the Horry County Parks and Recreation Department believes the county needs.

      Other items on the list include building more bike paths county-wide and adding athletic lighting at more than a dozen current county parks.

      The county parks director doesn't call it a wish list but a needs list, though there's no guarantee all the projects will actually be completed.

      The county's four current recreation centers get a lot of use and the department believes there should be three more of them, in Aynor, Green Sea and Loris.

      The department has ideas for some outside-the-box projects, too, like an equestrian center that could do more than just provide recreation.

      "Sports tourism. There could be money that comes along with that type of facility in the county," said county spokesperson Lisa Bourcier.

      The parks department presented the list at an infrastructure and regulation committee this week. Department officials want feedback from county council about which projects should be at the top of the list and which can be held back.

      "A lot of these places are thoughts. We still have a lot of work to do as far as locations, if they do make the list and then of course, funding," Bourcier said.

      Bourcier added that there's no total price tag or timeline connected to the list of projects, because there's no assurance all of them will be completed.

      One county councilman says a potential funding source could be the penny sales tax that's currently dedicated to road construction.

      "The bulk of it would still go to roads. we budget what we need for the facilities, how much can we build in 7 years and the rest would go to roads," said councilman Gary Loftus.

      Loftus says each project on the list has merit. Now it's just a matter of setting priorities and coming up with funding, he said.