Myrtle Beach leaders could soon allow food trucks to set up shop at some of the city’s parks.
City officials hope the trucks would encourage residents to use the parks on a more routine basis. They would also like food truck workers to help provide surveillance in those areas.
Officials are eyeing five of the city’s larger, busier parks for the initiative. Those parks are Futrell, Bathsheba Bowens, Savannah’s Playground, Myrtle’s Market and Withers Swash.
City officials discussed the idea at a Thursday workshop.
Responding to a question from councilman Mike Lowder, city manager John Pedersen said that, in general, “about one” food truck would be permitted to be at a particular park at one time unless an event was happening.
The city would also designate where the food trucks could park.
Drew Basilicato, who operates The Trojan Cow Food Truck, said he’s excited about the idea.
He said the move would let the vendors partner with the city and give the trucks a chance to sell food in more areas of Myrtle Beach.
“Any time we’re out and about, we bring a different culture,” he said. “We have our own followings. There’s events that we can almost set up on a pop-up basis.”
He said the change could lead to fun foodie events such as “Taco Tuesday” or “Food Truck Friday.”
Asked if the food trucks would generate enough interest to attract visitors to the parks, Basilicato suggested the initiative be implemented two days a week to start off and said it could be adjusted as needed.
“A lot of the parks are designed perfectly for something like this,” he said, mentioning Withers Swash Park specifically as having a “great, strong layout.”
He and officials noted the vendors are active on social media, and councilman Gregg Smith said those digital platforms could introduce community members to the parks themselves.
If the proposal is approved, only existing food truck permit holders could participate. Myrtle Beach City Council passed an ordinance expanding the number of permitted food trucks in the city from six to 20.
Also, vendors would display signage indicating they are doing surveillance work for the police. If vendors see anything suspicious, they are not asked to intervene, but to notify the police.
Vendors would arrange a rotation schedule so that a variety of food could be served at each location.
Pedersen said he wants there to be times during the week that community members can count on a food truck being at a park, but he also sees the need for vendor flexibility.
As such, he would like for the food trucks to be able to set up at “random” times as well. That way, customers wouldn’t necessarily have to work around a set schedule.
Mayor Brenda Bethune pointed out that an episode of the “The Great Food Truck Race” featuring the city will premiere Sunday night on the Food Network.
“That’s going to be great, not only for promotion of Myrtle Beach, but for our food trucks,” she said.