The Beautify Carolina Forest folks wanted there to be light. And there was light. And it was good.

The Carolina Forest sign at the corner of Carolina Forest Boulevard and U.S. 501, in the dark for about three years, is a welcoming beacon once again.

When the property owner’s association that maintained that area disbanded, that maintenance, including the light at the big Carolina Forest sign, ended.

“One of the first items on our agenda as a newly-formed nonprofit beatification group in Carolina Forest was to regain control of the maintenance of this gateway into our community,” said Richard Skrip, president of Beautify Carolina Forest [BCF].

“Our volunteers immediately stepped in and began cutting the grass, trimming the trees and shrubs and revealing the beautiful brick and iron fencing, and began to determine what was needed to get the sign relit.”

The group got approval to maintain the area, which included an agreement with DDR, the management company for the Kroger shopping complex, who agreed to pay the bill to keep the lights on.

As it turned out, only one of eight metal halide lamps was working and the ballasts and capacitors in three of the lights were out of commission. Weather stripping and screws to seal the glass and house the lamp and electrical components were missing.

A volunteer, who wants to be anonymous, donated $400 to light the sign and pay for 15 purple verbena plants in front of it.

The Horry County Solid Waste Authority donated mulch.

“Cooperation has made this project a success,” Skrip said.

BCF volunteer Mary Ann Selee, who is a master gardener, planted the 15 verbena at the sign and checks on them daily.

“They’re doing well,” she said. “They’re like babies.

“We’re working very hard to bring the community to a beautiful place to be proud of. It’s very fulfilling for me and I think most of the people who see it appreciate it.”

Selee said working with the Beautify Carolina Forest group is not a sacrifice for her. She and her husband Jim enjoy it, and that makes it worthwhile.

There are about 35 regular volunteers in the BCF group, and they use their own lawn mowers and other equipment. Skrip said more hands are always welcome.

In January, the group got a $2,500 grant from Palmetto Pride, which allowed them to continue their landscaping projects. Specifically, that money went to plant palm trees, knock-out roses and day lilies in the median across from the Food Lion on River Oaks Drive.

BCF has also landscaped much of Carolina Forest Boulevard, and continues to hold monthly litter clean ups in the area. Every two weeks, volunteers cut the grass in the median from U.S. 501 to River Oaks Drive.

The 501 C (3) group is funded through donations. They can be mailed to PO Box 50411 Myrtle Beach SC 29579. Skrip can be reached at 843-340-3540 or info@beautifycarolinaforest.org.

BFC’s website is www.beautifycarolinaforest.org.

“This was always intended to be a phase project based on the amount of revenue we could generate,” Skrip said.

The total vision for the area will cost about $25,000.

The next immediate project the group is planning is the planting of 12 sable palms in the Carolina Forest Boulevard median and 12 more on River Oaks Drive.

“There’s a certain level of appearance we need to maintain in the Carolina Forest community,” Skrip said. “Beautify Carolina Forest continues to make an impact in the community of Carolina Forest by maintaining and beautifying the roadway medians on Carolina Forest Boulevard and River Oaks Drive.”

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