Let conventioneers go to Myrtle Beach

By on August 23, 2012

After the latest report on the old Windmill Point property, I’m almost warming up to the decision to pump $36 million worth of sand onto Nags Head’s beaches.

Beach nourishment has never been a favorite of mine, not because I don’t think the effort might keep the Atlantic away from some houses and roads for another few years.

It’s the idea of spending so much money on a finite project, money that could be used in other ways. Like finishing a first-class network of multi-use paths.

But at least beach nourishment is tending to the amenity that makes the Outer Banks what it should be: A great place to relax on the sand and enjoy the ocean.

Now we have the blessing of an engineering study on the idea of a hotel and convention center on one of the last open spaces along the Roanoke Sound. The study was commissioned by the Dare County Tourism Board, which owns the Windmill Point property with the town of Nags Head.

There. They’ve said it. After circling around the phrase “convention center” by declaring it a harmless multi-use facility, I guess the powers pushing this idea feel we should start getting used to their vision for the swampland on the sound. Wasn’t it under water after Hurricane Irene last year?

For years, people have complained about the Outer Banks becoming the new Myrtle Beach. Some local leaders swear they will never let that happen, then oil the political machinery for more development. Here is the latest example.

Despite clear and overwhelming public sentiment for green space and a venue for outdoor events, the bulldozers are queuing up for the latest assault on what little is left of the real Outer Banks.

If we are not there yet, we are close to the point of diminishing returns.

For every conventioneer we bring here to create jobs and revenue, maybe just as many tourists will go elsewhere. They might even think Myrtle Beach isn’t such a bad place after all.

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