The acronym ITAP stands for International Technology and Aerospace Park, but for Horry County officials, the industrial park represents a diversified job market. The park is on the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base and county leaders say they are close to securing two companies to take up residence there.
Just off Farrow Parkway you can see the beginnings of the entrance into the new park. This infrastructure brings the project one step closer to attracting businesses.
"This just adds a little different dimension when you can actually drive out onto the site.and show it from the road," said Brad Lofton, President of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation. The MBREDC is assisting the county in bringing businesses to the park.
"Historically because of our sole focus on tourism, people just think of us as a playground. They don't think of us as a place to do business truly we are a great place to do business," said Horry County Council Chairman Tom Rice. "We are great at tourism. We're not good at it we're great at it, but we really need to diversify into some higher paying more stable jobs.
ITAP is 450 acres of undeveloped land that sits adjacent to the runway for Myrtle Beach International Airport. Because of its location, targeting the aviation industry is the main focus of the MBREDC.
"200 of those acres we're earmarking or identifying aviation companies that need to be near a runway that either fly in aircraft, do maintenance and repair on aircraft or perhaps do aircraft manufacturing," added Lofton.
Rice explained building a non-tourism based workforce is a marathon not a sprint.
"These things don't happen overnight. You don't talk a 500 employee company into moving on a whim there's a lot of groundwork that has to be done," said Rice. "We already had two reading on one lease out there and we're close to another so it's already having success."
Rice won't go into detail about the companies that may set up shop, but we are told the jobs will be on the higher end of the pay scale.
"One of these companies is 40 something dollar an hour which is four or five times the average wage for Horry County and both of these companies are very good paying, " said Lofton.
Lofton added Horry Georgetown Technical College will begin offering an aviation certification to train the people for the jobs that are coming
Once Horry County approves the businesses, the hiring process could begin in 60 to 90 days.